Other States

Maharashtra move to regularise slums a poll gimmick: Medha

Narmada Bachao Andolan activist Medha Patkar on Thursday criticised the Maharashtra cabinet's decision to extend the cut off date for legal slums from 1995 to 2000. Ms. Patkar who is contesting the Lok Sabha polls on an Aam Aadmi Party ticket said the state government's decision was clearly taken with an eye on the polls.

“This is the third election being fought by making promises of regularising slums. It was first in 2004 that the Congress-NCP government brought up the issue. But in the two following years, 90,000 slums were demolished to make way for various development projects,” said Ms Patkar.

Till now, slums built before January 1, 1995 was considered legal. The promise to extend the slum cut-off date to 2000 was made in the Congress party's 2004 election manifesto. However, the government has submitted an affidavit before the Bombay high court agreeing to not extend the deadline. This raises questions about how it will implement the decision to extend the date, said Ms. Patkar.

Ms. Patkar said that the government had been declaring one scheme after another for several years making promises to the poor for votes but none of them had been successful. The Slum Rehabilitation Authority was ridden with corruption, she alleged. Also, the Rajiv Awas Yojana has not taken off in Mumbai. “The municipality hasn’t even begun the survey for the scheme. It had an allocation of Rs. 1 crore just for the survey,” said Ms. Patkar.

Sixty per cent of Mumbai's population lives in slums which occupy 9.24% of its land, Ms. Patkar said. “The government claims there is no land to accommodate slum dwellers. But if the state was really interested, it could have acquired 30,000 acres of land which was in violation of the Urban Land Ceiling Act for a few crores," she said.

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 11:41:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/maharashtra-move-to-regularise-slums-a-poll-gimmick-medha/article5733093.ece

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