At a meeting with minister of state for Housing-Ravindra Waikar, who is also the local MLA, on Saturday, tribals demanded they be given basic amenities in their existing padas. Waikar said this is the first of the many discussions the government plans to have with tribals to convince them to move out.
“Our ancestors lived here. In 1956 we were given formal approval to till the land. Now we are being treated like slum-dwellers and evicted. It is not just about a house, what about our land, our trees?” asked Prakash Bhoir, a resident of Kelti Pada.
When the state government carved out around 100 acres from Aarey Colony for Force One (an anti-terrorism squad) the land included Kelti Pada, Damu Pada (also called Kelti Pada -2) and Chafyacha Pada. Residents said they are constantly pressurised by Force One to move out.
Rakesh Panekar, a resident of Kelti pada along with Namita Bhoir, Hemu Vangad, Guni Warli complained they are not allowed to repair their homes, cut a tree for their needs and are constantly harassed by Force One officials.
Waikar said he has replaced the Force One official the tribals had to deal with. While he claimed that the tribals were willing to move to the five acres identified for their rehabilitation, the tribals denied it.
“Since Aarey Colony is a Green Zone, it is not possible to give them basic amenities such as electricity, toilets etc. The government has decided to provide them 480 sq feet homes on the five acre plot identified for the purpose. As for their land, it will be decided later,” he said.
Bhoir said he is part of the committee that was set up by the government in 2010. “It was then decided to give the three padas 32 acres which we refused and now they want us to settle for five acres. The tribal department has done nothing for the residents of Naushyacha pada who were shifted for the Veterinary College in 1978. The residents even today have no basic amenities,” he said.
Sanjay Padavi, resident of Prajapur Pada, was shifted along with 70 other families to a slum rehab building in Chakala in 2016. “The Metro III plan speaks of a special rehabilitation package for tribals. Instead we have been pushed into 269 sq feet homes. We do not want to live like this. We want our land back,” he said.https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/aarey-tribals-reject-state-governments-offer-of-rehabilitation/articleshow/62964157.cms