Mahul residents reject BMC’s Rs. 29-crore development plan

Residents of Mahul have rejected the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) Rs. 29 crore plan for developing the area and have instead demanded rehabilitation to another location at a press conference on Tuesday.

On July 6, the State government had announced a plan to improve the living conditions in Mahul. The State allocated Rs. 29 crore and appointed four contractors to provide basic amenities to the residents.

At the press conference, the residents of Mahul and activists from Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan (GBGBA) discussed the State government’s assurance to the Bombay High Court that to look after the safety of residents and rehabilitate them in the locality.

The residents said the High Court’s order to remove enroachments near the Tansa pipeline led to their eviction. The court had ordered the government to rehabilitate the residents, but it instead moved them to Mahul, which is a polluted area and poses hazards to health. The residents also said that the area lacked schools, hospitals and employment opportunities.

Bilal Khan, convenor of GBGBA, said, “The residents of Mahul had approached the High Court demanding rehabilitation and not to relocate people there. The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board’s report on the high level of pollution in the area and the National Green Tribunal’s observations are proof that the place is uninhabitable. The Housing Minister has stated categorically that the place is unlivable. Police personnel and BMC staff have refused accommodation in Mahul because of its grave health hazards. In spite of this, the State government has been relocating people from various localities to Mahul.”

The residents said that the government’s move to spend Rs. 29 crore on bettering the amenities would be wasteful expenditure as extreme pollution continues to plague Mahul. A resident said, “Pollution is the major reason why residents want to vacate the place.”

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