Deora promises to take up MbPT tenants’ issues if elected to power

Residents face threat of eviction under redevelopment plan

Updated - March 27, 2019 10:11 am IST

Published - March 27, 2019 01:08 am IST - Mumbai

Seeking blessing: Congress’s Lok Sabha candidate from Mumbai South and president of the party’s city unit, Milind Deora, at Jain temple at Walkeshwar on Tuesday.

Seeking blessing: Congress’s Lok Sabha candidate from Mumbai South and president of the party’s city unit, Milind Deora, at Jain temple at Walkeshwar on Tuesday.

Over 200 commercial and residential tenants of the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) participated in a public meeting, which was chaired by newly-appointed Mumbai Congress chief Milind Deora. Thousands of MbPT tenants face the threat of eviction under the redevelopment plan of the MbPT in its eastern waterfront project.

Mr. Deora assured them that if elected to power, the party would first take up their issues.

Preeti Shenoy, an affected tenant from Darukhana, said the issue is between the MbPT and the owners of their property. “However, the MbPT has been demanding crores of rupees in arrears from us and threatening to evict us if we don’t pay,” she said.

Ashok Garg, another affected tenant from Darukhana, said they were never called for any stakeholder meetings for the redevelopment project. “At least five lakh people will be affected, directly and indirectly, with the removal of the commercial and residential establishments at Darukhana,” he said.

The redevelopment project stretches along the eastern coast of the city from Colaba to Wadala, a large section of which comes under the Mumbai South constituency, from where Mr. Deora will be contesting in the Lok Sabha elections.

“We don’t expect to be thrown out by the very people who we elected in the first place,” Pervez Cooper, who had a commercial establishment in Ballard Estate and was evicted by the MbPT, said. Pramod Pavle from Sassoon Docks said the eviction notices are affecting both their homes and their livelihoods.

Mr. Deora said if voted to power, tenants’ problems would be among the issues they would take up on priority. “When we were in power we had decided that ports with commercial and residential tenants would be out of the policy that allowed port authorities to develop their land. Three ports — Mumbai, Kandla and Kolkata — were identified to be kept out of the purview of that policy. But among the first decisions of the BJP government was to include these three ports and allow redevelopment on these lands,” he said.

Taking a swipe at the Shiv Sena, he said if sitting MP Arvind Sawant was really serious about the tenants’ issues then they would have pulled their support to the government. “No change will come about by simply writing letters. Anti-people politics and policies will never win elections,” he said.

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