March 7, 2014 3:20:54 am
After extending legal cover to all slums that came up prior to January 1, 2000, the Congress-led Democratic Front government has now legitimised occupants of protected slum homes till 2013.
In a notification issued by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan-led Urban Development (UD) department on March 3, the government has said “it intends to rehabilitate slum-dwellers who have been residing continuously for at least one year in protected slum structures.”
On February 28, the DF government secured the approval of state legislature for a Bill to extend the cut-off date for slum regularisation from January 1, 1995 to January 1, 2000, protecting an additional 3 lakh slums in Mumbai alone from demolition and making them eligible for redevelopment.
The March 3 notification entitles residents of slums that are protected as they came up before January 1, 2000, but had the occupants who came into them later eligible for free rehabilitation.
It states that all such residents who holds valid photo passes and have been residing in such structures continuously for at least one year will become eligible.
Although the Chavan had declared that the government would be modifying development control regulations in this regard on February 28 itself, he had not disclosed the eligibility criterion then. Even the notification does not cite how the government would handle cases of multi-storey slum structures.
According to officials, the move to confer legitimacy to slum-dwellers residing before or since March 3, 2013, in pre-2000 homes would benefit over 5 lakh slum residents in Mumbai alone.
With more slum-dwellers granted protected cover, the government is also hoping that big-ticket projects like modernisation of the Mumbai International Airport and the Dharavi Redevelopment Project get going.
Chavan had first declared his government’s intent in this regard in December 2011, just ahead of the civic polls. Sources, however, said the plan then was to limit the benefit to pre-2000 residents staying in pre-1995 slums.
However, with the state’s advocate general opining against going ahead with the move till a 2006 High Court restraint order on extending the cut-off date was in force and Chavan himself concerned over its impact of Mumbai’s infrastructure, the move did not progress further.
Now, with elections round the corner, the government has given it a go-ahead, even as the HC order continues to be in force still.
Meanwhile, officials said the move to extend the cut-off date involved several complications. A senior official acknowledged that the government was in a bind on how to handle cases of pre-2000 slum structures that were razed or declared ineligible for rehabilitation in an ongoing slum scheme. A high-level meeting in this regard has been convened next week.
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