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Press Release – A Victory for struggle for Urban Poor in Mumbai

GBGB-NAPM Welcomes Maharashtra Government’s Decision to Revise the Cut-off Date for Urban Poor in Mumbai to 2000

A VICTORY FOR THE STRUGGLE BY THE URBAN POOR

OUR BATTLE FOR RIGHT TO SHELTER WILL PROGRESS BEYOND THE NEW CUT-OFF DATE

Mumbai / New Delhi, July 19 : It is due to long struggle by the slum dwellers in Mumbai that finally the Congress – NCP govt. of Maharashtra has brought out, with Governor’s consent, the GR for changed policy and amendment in the enactment (Slum Act 1971). The new cut-off date for slum dwellers protection is now January 1, 2000. This means that now the structures which are built before January 1, 2000 in any slum in Maharashtra will have to be protected and cannot be demolished, families therein cannot be evicted without an alternative shelter & consent of the family. The earlier cut-off date of January 1, 1995 stipulated in the Slum Act now stands changed to January 1, 2000.Although the Amendment was notified on May 2, 2014 to keep the electoral promise, it took continued continued struggle and follow up by us to get the GR out, as eviction and demolition of pre-2000 houses continued.

The decisions, no doubt, is a part victory of the long struggle and perseverance by the slum dwellers, since 2004 when GBGB (Ghar Banao-Ghar Bachao) Andolan was formed. The slum dwellers including women in thousands have been coming on the streets and carrying on strong mass agitations. Our assertion has always been for Right toHousing‘, which includes not only shelter but access and provisions for basic amenities, and nothing less than that. We demand availability of land adequately for the poor who can build their own houses. However, the Govt. can facilitate with community amenities and implement the housing schemes providing houses with people’s contribution. It is for the later that the Govt. may have a cut-off date & provide housing to the categories of slum dwelling families in phases. We therefore accept this partial increase in the cut-off date which will give protection to additional lakhs of slum dwellers.

We are yet to see the rules and criteria mentioned in new G.R that is signed by the Governor of Maharashtra on July 18, but we believe and demand that the procedure for the submission of the proof about the structures should be simplified as these are the basis for the poor people attaining their entitlement under the new policy.

This is certainly not to happen so easily without our struggle and hence we continue with the same.

  • LET 1999 SURVEY BE THE BASIS

The Govt. too has no full field survey & data of the protected houses and families with January 1, 2000 being the cut-off date. It is unfortunate that the slum dwelling families will have to show the proof of 1999 and not 2000. It is therefore,possible and necessary that GOM will have to accept the survey undertaken in 1999 although the survey receipts then were issued in mid July 2000 & after.

  • AMBEDKAR NAGAR HOUSING DEMANDS

The GBGB Andolan – NAPM with all our supporters now demand that the new GR should be supplied to at least those families in slums which were evicted or demolished during last one year and especially even after the promise of new date during Lok Sabha eletions. The houses demolished in Ambedkar nagar, Mulund, who waged the battle for changing the cut-off date have no doubt contributed to this success. They should now be rehabilitated with dignity & respect. They should be accommodated in the housing scheme that is to come up on the land which they are staying on since years, and was later allotted to some co-operative society. This process must now be hastened to ensure justice, even though delayed.

We expect that the Principal Secretary – Housing, Additional Collector – North East, Collector – Mumbai, CEO – Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA), officials and the concerned Minister, Mr Sachin Ahire, take up this cause further with full participation of activists of GBGB & slum dwellers.

NAPM, it may be noted, is also before the Supreme Court demanding the directives towards upholding “Right to Housing” to every citizen including the poor as part of Right to Life under Article 21 of the Constitution. We hope that the Apex court will uphold this right as it has done in the case of “Right to Food”.

  • WILL RAY, BE EXECUTED ?

Our struggle continues with the unity of the Urban poor and their organisations across the country. NAPM has challenged the scams & scandals in housing including Adarsh Housing Society, Hiranandani, Lavasa, Shivalik and other builder’s projects in Mumbai and elsewhere while it also is continuing the struggle for the rights of the Mumbai’s poor to water, sanitation, rationing & electricity. It has put the demand for self reliant housing under the RAJIV AWAS YOJNA (RAY) provided it excludes the builders and includes the poor as participants and partners. With the pilot project for the Mandala community in Mankhurd, GBGB Andolan and NAPM will continue to struggle for stopping brutal demolitions and attaining the houses for lakhs of people who themselves are construction workers & other category of unprotected labourers, living in the slum from Malad to Mankhurd. We express our determination to continue with the same & expect support from all the sensitive citizens, groups, organizations as well as the political parties.

Medha Patkar Poonam Kanojiya Umar Bhai Sumit Wajale Jameel Bhai Prerna Gaikwad Uday Mohite

Contact : 9892727063

 

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