For several decades, slum clusters dotting port trust land, which snakes through 28 km of the city’s eastern coastline, have been denied basic amenities like water supply, sanitation, public schools or healthcare as they fall outside the boundaries of the civic body.
Now, the city’s two-decade blueprint has decided to leave out these slum pockets entirely from the draft Development Plan (DP) 2014-34.
The shanty residents have not been earmarked in the proposed land use (PLU) maps accompanying the draft DP, posing a question mark over the future of the 1.5 lakh odd residents living on the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) lands. The migrant labour living in areas like Darukhana, Reay Road, Sewri and Wadala have, over the years, been part of the informal livelihoods spawned by the port and its ancillary activities. The draft DP has merely marked a major chunk of the land as industrial zone in the PLU.
“Even in the existing land use maps, there are several omissions as far as port trust land slums are concerned . However the PLU has excluded almost all the slum pockets. There are no reservations in the DP for rehabilitation of these slums, transit accommodation or for creation of public housing in general,” said Mayuresh Bhadsavle from Hamara Shahar Vikas Niyojan Abhiyan.
According to a recent report by the Mumbai Port Land Development Committee (MPLDC), set up by Union Shipping minister Nitin Gadkari, these dense settlements occupy merely 7.37 hectare of the total 721 hectare of port land.Vidyadhar Phatak, who was the consultant to the BMC in its preparation of DP, said that presently, the entire land to the south of Mazgaon is used for port activities and hence has been marked as industrial zone. “It is up to the land owning agency to decide the future of these slum plots, we can only earmark the zones. These slums are protected under the Slum Act,” said Phatak. The protection accorded to slum structures built prior to 2,000 are applicable only in case of those on state government lands, not on plots belonging to central government agencies such like MbPT.