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                                  10th June 2014






While the Housing Rights of residents of Campa-Cola compound have once again become a matter of public debate & Bharatratna Lata Mangeshkarji, owner of one of the flats herself, has come out in protection of them, we welcome the debate. Let the debate and deliberation, however, get focused on the wider issues related to common people striving for shelter yet getting either bulldozed or cheated! Atleast now when the rich, elite families in Campa Cola are also facing betrayal, at the hands of ‘Pure Drinks’ with impure, illegal actions of raising  storeys which were not permitted within the FSI limit, the builders-officials nexus should come to the fore.


Why were the builders permitted to carry out work beyond what was permissible, after paying fine in 1986 itself? How was formation of Co-Op societies permitted? Have the officials of the corporation who didn’t take action all these years & builders held responsible ? Why should only the residents who claim their ignorance be treated as the culprits and cheaters? Whom have they cheated personally when all the sanctions & deals were between the developers & authorities?


These questions need to be asked & the Judiciary is expected to look into the same. While no one can disrespect law, justice appears to be distant in this case. Lata Mangeshkar’s comment that her concern is because the residents, with children & aged, are be homeless, is however exaggerated. Whether or not she is only for saving her own apartment (which is in one of the buildings as per media reports), Lataji also knows that the well-to-do families can’t become homeless by losing this house & most of them may have already made alternative arrangements.


Whatever it’s, we wish Lataji could use her social and political weightage  in favor of all those who are poor & hence compelled to live in so called illegal houses?


Meet the real homeless in Azad Maidan .. Support them. The case of Ambedkar nagar Mulund is typical of many other slums. The land which they were residing on, since years was handed over with no price tag, to cooperatives of ex.- bureaucrats and other upper to middle class citizens but with a condition to add “Slum Rehab” to the  8 societies’ federal projects. Samarth Spark Developers with Society’s promoter’s son as a partner, could accommodate only 50% of 600 families & not the rest. Why couldn’t our Right to Shelter be protected, those declared ineligible began asking. Meanwhile the societie’s project came under scanner. The statutory   enquiry was carried out & the report is now out. The report recommends enquiry into eligibilty to illegality involved… yet the houses  were bulldozed.


Those who purchased or built houses prior to 1995 or 2000 are out on streets. Why so?


When even though as a pe-election lollipop, Slum Act was ammended to change the cut-off date from 1995 to 2000, it was & it  is a duty of the State to protect them all, as per the notification dated May 2nd 2014. Yet the contrary happened. On the 19th there was a brutal eviction of 130 houses, when  even some of their belongings got damaged.


The agitation is on since May 20th till date… All promises by Minister of State for Housing & officials have proved to be partial, not fulfilled and the illegality involved in demplition goes unattended.


How many, if not Lataji & such eminent persons, common people- Aam Aadmis- have time & sensitivity to come forward & meet the real homeless at Azad Maidan, Mumbai?


Medha Patkar                Sumit Wajale                           Ali Shaikh

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Poonam Kanojiya         Anwari Shaikh                      Ramesh Kode