The Maharashtra Cabinet on Sunday extended the cut-off date for regularised slums in the city by five years till 2000.

The earlier cut-off date was January 1, 1995. Sources in the government say at least 5 lakh families living in slums will now be considered legal residents.

After promising to extend the cut-off date in the 2004 poll manifesto, the Congress-NCP government did not move ahead to implement it, partly because the issue had come up before courts which did not give their approval. In 2005, the then PCC chief Prabha Rau tried to shrug off the promise, attributing it to a “printing mistake” in the manifesto.

However, the government came under increasing pressure from Mumbai MPs to implement the promise before the coming Lok Sabha polls since large portions of the city are populated by slums. Sources said Ministers Naseem Khan (Congress) and Chhagan Bhujbal (NCP) raised the issue at Sunday’s meeting.

The Opposition has sharply criticised the government. It “remembers the slums only before the polls. Does it care about the burden on Mumbai? At this rate, the cut-off date will keep being extended,” said the Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut.