Barely months to go for the crucial Mumbai municipality elections, the BJP on Monday shifted its attention on slum redevelopment. A delegation of senior party leaders from Mumbai called on Union Ministers in Delhi to push for redevelopment of slums along the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, on Railway land, and on land owned by the Bombay Port Trust.
The delegation, led by BJP’s Mumbai unit chief Ashish Shelar, told the Central government to ease buffer zone norms around the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. Presently, there are restrictions on development activity around 10 kilometer area of the park. But the BJP delegation claimed that these have stalled redevelopment of 25 lakh slum families and also old buildings in the suburbs of Mumbai. It requested the Centre to lift restrictions for all areas beyond 100 meters of the National Park. The delegation held deliberations with Union Environment Minister Anil Dave in this regard.
A demand to formulate a policy for slums existing pre-2000 on railway land was made before Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu. About 12 lakh slum families reside on Railway land.
Following another discussion with Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari, Shelar announced that the policy for development of Bombay Port Trust lands would be brought before the Union Cabinet in a couple of weeks. The BPT houses some 45,000 slum families, Shelar’s press statement said. Asked by the media to comment of Shiv Sena’s Dusshera rally, Shelar said, “BJP’s attention is just on the (Pankaja Munde’s) melava at Bhagwangad.”