The state government has decided to evolve new guidelines along with undertaking a door-to-door survey to tackle the complex problems of people languishing in transit camps for the last five decades.
Besides addressing the concerns of tenants living in Maharashtra Housing Area Development Authority-owned transit camps, it also wants to lay down guidelines for transit camps’ redevelopment undertaken by private developers to check rampant manipulation and corruption. The government wants the transit camps to be temporary homes and those who relocate there should return to their original homes within a time-bound period.
In the second phase of the new housing policy, the state government plans to address two aspects related to the transit camps. The first relates to rehabilitation of the residents living in such camps since 1972. Secondly, it wants to evolve strict rules to prevent unscrupulous elements from exploiting these camps for permanent and illegal occupation. A transit camp policy is being drawn up to plug the loopholes that has thwarted the redevelopment of dilapidated structures in the island city and suburbs of Mumbai.
“Officially, there are no authentic documents to show the number of legal and illegal residents in the 26 transit camps owned by MHADA. To document how many occupants are legal and illegal is going to be a tough exercise but we have to complete it in a time-bound manner. In both categories, the residents have been occupying their respective dwellings for several decades. And many original occupants have already sold and resold the dwellings,” said a source in the housing ministry.
A case in point relates to a resident who shifted from Byculla to a transit camp in Sion. After two generations, the original owners have passed their dwelling to a third individual, who sold it to a fourth person.
Mumbai is dotted with transit camps in Kammanwar (Vikhroli), Mulund, Ghatkoparm Anushakti Nagar, Sion, Dahisar, Colaba, Bandra and Magathane. Together, there are 18,000 legal and illegal tenants across the city.