The Bombay High Court on Friday suggested that the Chief Minister look into an ongoing issue over the possession of a plot of land for the rehabilitation of slumdwellers, living in transit homes for the past 15 years in the Santa Cruz area.
While the state housing department sought from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) the handing over of a plot for the rehabilitation project, BMC without mincing words said that “it is not possible”.
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Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice G S Kulkarni, however, remarked that as the issue is not being resolved at the bureaucratic level, it needs higher intervention. “If it goes to the CM, then something will happen,” said Chief Justice Shah.
The case relates to around 1,300 people left behind to live in transit camps after around 2,700 were accommodated in a redeveloped building in Daulat Nagar of Santa Cruz (West) neighbourhood. Lawyers Vibhav Krishna and Shakuntala Mudbidri, representing slumdwellers, sought their rehabilitation stressing they were eligible.
When the bench had heard a PIL filed by slumdwellers last time, it ordered a meeting to be convened among principle secretary of the Housing Department and other heads of departments, including the BMC commissioner. The Court had also directed the developers, involved in the rehabilitation project, to approach these various authorities.
On Court’s directions, Aseem Gupta, CEO, SRA, wrote to BMC Commissioner Sitaram Kunte on March 11, this year. “The plot under reference houses nurses quarters and municipal dispensary. These are essential services and cannot be vacated… It will not be possible to consider the request,” said Kunte in his April 4 letter.