Mumbai’s Urban Poor packed Azad Maidan

Tens of Thousands of Slum Dwellers exposed hypocrisy behind ‘Achhe Din’ 

Delegation Met Maha. Chief Secretary

Mumbai | 16th July, 2015: Uncaring about the rains, fast (Ramzan), their work, tens of thousands of urban poor gathered of Mumbai, outraged by the hypocrisy behind the notion of ‘Achhe Din’, gathered today at Azad Maidan. The warning dharna was staged by the Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan led by social activist Medha Patkar.

Concerned citizens and activists also joined in solidarity, Prakash Reddy, Vivek Sundara, Arun Ferreia, Mohan Chauhan to name a few. “The new Maharashtra government has failed to address the issues of urban poor, especially of housing”, said Prakash Reddy of CPI. “Chikki scam tune to Rs. 260 cr and the controversy related to possession of fake degree by the Education Minister have diverted the government from its real objective’’, added Mr. Reddy.

A delegation comprising of representatives from different slums led by Medha Patkar met the Chief Secretary of Maharashtra, Mr. Swadheen S Kshatriya. Shriram and Anwari Shaikh represented the Mandala evictees, who informed Mr. Kshatriya of their 11 years long struggle for housing right. “The Chief Secretary has sought a fresh proposal (for the rehabilitation of families evicted thrice since 2004) under new housing policy called Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojan which would replace the Rajiv Awas Yojna” informed Anwari Shaikh  When the representatives of different bastisbrought in the notice of CS, the issue of basic amenities and the related difficulties they face while getting sanction from government for the same, the CS directed the concerned official to immediately issue NOCs for respective basic amenities to respective slums on governments land. A joint meeting with the Chief Minister, Chief Secretary and other concerned official has been promised on Ms. Patkar’s request after Maharashtra assembly monsoon session ends.

“Government should add ‘smart slums’ to their agenda as well while making huge investments in the name of smart cities as living a dignified life is not entirely the business of rich”, said Medha Patkar while addressing the gathering.

“We don’t want a house for free, we want a policy (housing) which  invite people’s participation in building houses as was there in Rajiv Awas Yojna”, said Shriram a basti leader, who was also a part of the delegation met the Chief Secretary today.

The dharna was withdrawn with a warning of a massive agitation if the issues of urban poor are not addressed soon. “We will launch a massive agitation in near future if the issues of the urban poor are not addressed soon’’, warned Medha Patkar while concluding the dharna. 

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