Fate could not have proved to be any more cruel to Mavollaiah. The 33-year-old father of two sons, who lost his wife, mother and one of his sons in Thursday’s mishap, had moved into the small hut behind the wall just two months ago from his house in the same slum to accomodate his younger brother Adi Narayana (27), after he got married.
“After I got married, my brother decided to rent the hut so that I could stay with my wife,” said Narayana, who was filled with umbrage at the college management for dumping sand behind the wall, which fell on his brother’s hut. “The boys were school-going children. My brother used to work hard in order to send them to school,” he said.
Narayana said that he too had repeatedly complained to the college management not to dump sand and debris against the wall, fearing that it may cave in. “And it happened as we feared it would. Not only our’s, but there are many more lives at stake in the same place, as about 40-50 more families live at the boundary.
Krishna, Narayana’s neighbour, said that the dumping had continued from the last three to four months and that it had only been increasing. “Even a few days ago, some sand was unloaded. All the dumping was done at night clandestinely. Not just Narayana’s family, but many of us had complained to the college many times. But to no avail,” he explained.
Narayana and his brother have been living in Kotamma Basti, in Vijaya Nagar colony since the last 25 years and the wall belonging to the government college had been built almost a decade ago. Mavollaiah had been paying a monthly rent of Rs 500 and used to earn Rs 350 a day, while his wife and mother used to work as domestic help in nearby areas.
When contacted, the management of the college washed their hands off saying that the dumping of debris and sand in the institution’s premises was the handiwork of outsiders. “There is no watchman and our requests to our head as well as the government also went unanswered. Once we leave the college in the evening, those people come and dump all the sand there,” said one person from the management who was present at the Humayun Nagar police station on Thursday.