Mumbai

Mahul residents give Sena goodwill and a reminder

Mahul residents gather outside Sena Bhavan to meet CM Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday.

Mahul residents gather outside Sena Bhavan to meet CM Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

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Residents hope to be shifted out

Residents of Mahul gathered outside Sena Bhavan on Tuesday to congratulate the Shiv Sena on forming the government in the State. Supported by the non-governmental organisation Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, they also used the occasion to remind the government regarding shifting them to a better locality.

The residents expressed disappointment at the delay in implementation of Bombay High Court’s direction to the State to either relocate the families from Mahul within 12 weeks or deposit ₹15,000 per month as rent and an additional ₹45,000 as refundable deposit in their bank accounts.

Prateek Shinde, a resident, spoke of how around 5,500 families were displaced from their homes as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) demolished the illegal encroachments along the Tansa water pipeline. “I do not understand why the BMC is ignoring our concerns when it took no time to throw us out of our houses in 2017. I remember them breaking into the homes of the residents who were hesitant to leave. It was so sudden that I could not even gather some of my belongings while I was made to leave,” he said.

Bilal Khan, activist and member of Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan said it had been two years since people have been shifted to Mahul. “Even the High Court on September 23 directed the State to take action. I feel the Bharatiya Janata Party government and the BMC have delayed taking action to help the members live in an environment that does not give them rashes and health issues. Several people have died in the past two years, which is not a minor occurence,” Mr. Khan said.

Residents said the water in Mahul felt like oil. “It does not heat and the utensils look brownish. There is no drainage system and the weather gets too hot at night,” Sanjeevni Pawar, a resident whose family members have been facing several medical issues that they attribute to living in Mahul.

Siraj Patel, another resident, said, “If you are keeping your family in Mahul, it’s like killing them. It is disheartening how we have to buy packaged drinking water to survive. Doing this every single day is very expensive. I don’t understand why land was acquired by the previous governments in an area that is not even 500-m from oil refineries and 16 other factories. I am sure the BMC is aware of Indian Institute of Technology Bombay’s report on the bad air quality here.”

Mr. Patel hoped that Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray, who earlier spoke about moving them out of Mahul, would act on this issue that has forced them “to live in the gas chamber”.

Anita Dhole, a member of the Jeevan Bachao Andolan that is working towards helping the residents said, “I know of neighbours who have died of paralysis and asthma. We have been sleeping on footpaths for long, and today, the Jeevan Bachao Andolan movement completes 405 days with no results.”

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 9:17:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/mahul-residents-give-sena-goodwill-and-a-reminder/article30153968.ece

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