In a fillip to the much-delayed expansion plan of the Mumbai airport, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday directed officials to expedite the rehabilitation of the squatters on airport land. About 276 acre out of Mumbai airport’s 1,900-acre land is currently occupied by 80,000 slum families. The issue of their relocation has been hanging fire for a long time.
On Wednesday, officials said that a relocation plan for 17,200 hutments existing on airport land near the Mithi river banks in Kurla — Indira Nagar, Sevak Nagar, Kranti Nagar, Sandesh Nagar, Vijay Nagar and Gandhi Nagar — was discussed in detail. While 37 buildings had been constructed on a Kurla plot, where the Premier Factory once stood, for their relocation, these buildings are now in a state of disrepair.
Thackeray on Wednesday directed officials to repair these flats and rehabilitate the slum dwellers on priority. With some of the buildings also found to be beyond repair, the chief minister also green lighted an alternate plan of the Airport Authority of India to rehabilitate some of the slum families on its own land parcels in Marol, Chakala and Vakola.
In another housing related meeting presided over by Thackeray on Wednesday, the Shiv Sena-led Urban Development department proposed a cluster redevelopment scheme, with a high Floor Space Index of four, for gaothan areas in Navi Mumbai. Contending that delays in land acquisition had led to the illegal expansion of gaothan areas, the department has said that an urban renewal scheme using the cluster redevelopment model will help legalise about 20,000 structures, including 14,000 structures that have come up within the geographical limits of the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation that extends from Airoli to Belapur.
The remaining 6,000 are in the Kharghar to the Dronagiri area, the notified belt that falls under the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) of Maharashtra. Officials informed that the much-delayed redevelopment of the British-era Bombay Development Directorate chawls in Worli and Naigaon was also discussed in yet another meeting.
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