Pramod Shinde has been living in the slums of Chimatpada for the past 25 years and has been running a chemist shop near his house. Within the next few months,Shinde,along with around 600 other families,may have to give up his house and shop to make way for the Marol Naka station on the proposed Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro line.
However,Shinde and his neighbours are reluctant due to which the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has not been able to finalise the crucial social impact assessment report,a significant step in the planning of the 33.5-km line. The report is also key to formalising an agreement with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for financing the Rs 21,000-crore project.
We are not against the Metro,but we should be given a proper plan for our rehabilitation before we agree to it. We have spent our whole life in this area,so our demand is that we should be rehabilitated somewhere in Chimatpada, Shinde said.
For the report to be complete,the MMRDA needs to conduct a baseline social survey of the people living in areas likely to be adversely affected by the project to determine the number of families that will need to be resettled.
The people in Chimatpada are not allowing us to do the survey,so we still dont know the exact number of families that will have to be resettled. It should approximately be about 600-700 families, said Rahul Asthana,Metropolitan Commissioner.
They are insisting on an in-situ rehabilitation,but we cant promise them that as the area is reserved as a recreational ground. They are also asking for a change in alignment if resettlement within the area is not possible. But changing the alignment is not an option as the station is a junction for the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro and the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro line, Asthana said.
The residents also complained that there was no clarity on the part of MMRDA. Ravi Nair,who has been living in Chimatpada for 36 years,said he had filed RTI requests to find out the rehabilitation scheme the authority has decided on,the total area that will be required,the date on which the construction is going to start and so on,but received information not available as a reply to most of his questions.
For the construction of the fully-underground Metro,the MMRDA needs to acquire 31.72 hectares,of which 3.43 hectares is private land. The authority plans to start construction next year.