The Supreme Court is set to hear on Friday an appeal filed by the BMC against a Bombay High Court ruling that directed the civic body to pay rent to residents, who used to live along the Tansa pipeline, and have been rehabilitated in Mahul.
Preeti Purandare, deputy legal officer of BMC, said the appeal was filed last week. “In the appeal, the BMC has attached an old report of the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board that observed lower pollution levels in Mahul. It has hidden the latest NGT report and orders by the tribunal,” said Bilal Khan of NGO Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao.
On April 4, the HC had ordered the BMC to pay a rent of Rs 15,000 per month to each of the project affected persons (PAPs) rehabilitated by the government in Mahul. So far, 5,862 people have moved to Mahul, which according to a 2015 National Green Tribunal report, is unfit for habitation due to high pollution levels, as it is surrounded by oil refineries and chemical factories.
The rehabilitation to Mahul had began after the HC, in 2009, directed that encroachment near Tansa pipeline — that runs across nine administrative wards of the city — be removed. Most residents have been rehabilitated from Andheri, Ghatkopar, Powai, Kurla and Bandra.
Last year, around 1,000 Mahul residents had started an indefinite protest in Vidyavihar against the poor living conditions. On Wednesday, the protest reached its 200th day. However, not a single resident has yet been provided rent by the BMC.
According to the residents, their settlements are located at a distance of 15 m from the oil refineries and chemical factories in Mahul, in contrast to NGT’s directive that the distance should be at least 1.5 km to 5 km.