The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is sticking to its argument that Mahul is a good locality for residents to live in, though activists and citizens have criticised the civic body for using the area to build rehabilitation projects in the city. The current plan involves over 4,500 houses which are to be renovated in Mahul.
The project throws the spotlight on Mahul, several years after the BMC started its rehabilitation project for the area’s buildings. But residents were unhappy given the shabby condition of their houses, poor infrastructure in the area, and air pollution. Some of them even moved the Bombay High Court, which clarified that the civic body can’t force people to move there. Furthermore, the National Green Tribunal also said the area is “not good for human habitation”. The hearing is still underway, but the civic body seems set on sticking to its earlier version, while also coming up with 4,500 houses which can be an alternative to the shabby houses of Mahul.
The three areas which the BMC has selected are Mukund Nagar, SG Chemicals and Videocon Kshiti. All three are in M-West ward, which includes Chembur and borders Mahul. The buildings built by the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) were handed over the MMRDA in 2005-06. But the MMRDA’s requirements were so meagre that the remainder were given to the BMC in 2009-10. “By that time, the BMC had Mahul’s buildings ready, so we decided to shift the project-affected people to this area,” said a BMC officer.
Assistant commissioner (estates) Parag Raghunath Masurkar said, “We have already given a working order to renovate houses in Mukund Nagar. Around 250 houses will be ready by April 2019. After the works committee’s approval for two other colonies, we will get 4,000 more houses. The BMC has more than 2,500 vacant houses in Mahul and they are shifting people from other areas in a few wards in the eastern suburbs. But now, with more houses still available, the BMC will start stringent action against encroachment.
- Residents who were given houses in Mahul said they weren’t happy.
- They complained about the area, poor infrastructure and air pollution.
- Even NGT said it isn’t fit for habitation