Two-day sit-in protest for passage of AP Slum-Dwellers (Property Rights) Act begins at Gandhi statue near Vizag GVMC office

As part of its campaign for tenurial rights for slum-dwellers, a two-day sit-in protest began here at the Gandhi statue near GVMC office on Wednesday pressing for AP Slum-Dwellers (Property Rights) Act.

NGOs Campaign for Housing and Tenurial Rights (CHATRI) and Action Aid are organising the protest in four cities – Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Warangal – simultaneously, according to its convener here Pragada Vasu.

During the last Assembly session representatives of CHATRI met floor leaders and MLAs urging them to press for the passage of the bill. However, it did not materialise.

The sit-in is now being organised to focus on the necessity of passing the bill. Tenurial rights for slum-dwellers should precede the implementation of the Centrally-sponsored Rajiv Awas Yojana, slum-free housing programme, he contended.

Slum-free city plans, state plan of action and pilot projects have been prepared on the basis of which the Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee had sanctioned Rs.166 crore for the four cities.

For four pilot projects, Rs.24 crore had been drawn so far, Mr. Vasu alleged. Residents representing about 40 slums are participating in the protest.

MLC M.V.S. Sarma who addressed the protestors said that the SC/ST Sub-plan Act could not be implemented and funds spent unless the basic issue of housing was resolved.

He said he would take up the issue at the Business Advisory Committee meeting with the support of other MLCs.

Former Union Energy Secretary E.A. S. Sarma said though the State Government agreed to pass the Tenurial Rights Act at the CSMC meeting, it was not keeping its commitment but was going ahead with implementation of RAY.