Slum dwellers, of the three slum pockets located at Andheri RTO, say they have been suffering for a long time and now have decided whom to vote. The slum dwellers are from three slum pockets which include Kasam Nagar, Anna Nagar, and Vitthal Rakhumai. According to slum dwellers the project started in the year 1999, when a builder came ahead to redevelop the slums.
However, in between the project halted and later on the Slum Rehabilitation Authority decided to hold an election of eligible slum dwellers to get a new developer. The election will be held on October 3, and the process includes holding a biometric registration of the present eligible slum dwellers. this will be done between 10 am to 1 pm. Post this the election will be held between 1 to 4 pm and post election the results shall be announced.
On Sunday when this reporter visited the slums, the slum dwellers were sitting under a pandal and were having their lunch. It was apparently a meeting where slum dwellers had come together to decide on whom to vote. Shiv Singh, one of the slum dweller said, “I have been staying here for 35 years now, we are poor people and are troubled too. We have seen a lot, but we have now decided that we need homes instead of the shanties that we are staying in. We have decided whom to vote, but we cannot tell you this.”
Another resident of the slum Nazma Shaikh, says that the slum dwellers have suffered for all these years, had the original developer completed the work they would have now been staying in proper homes. But now they have come all together and are focused on getting a home. They say SRA officials came to them and have explained on how to cast their vote on October 3.
Laxmi Dhotre, who also is a slum dweller says that in spite of October 3, being a working day all the 472 eligible slum dwellers have decided to take a day off to cast their vote as they all need homes. The slum dwellers claim that once the builder is elected they will press for demand of having homes for everyone residing in the slum, there are close to 900 slum dwellers at present says Shiv Singh. One of the slum dwellers said that they have appointed a few people among themselves to take decision on other aspects like rent and transit camps and all this will be decided by them later on.
However, the new developer Manav Infrastructure who has come in also held a meeting hardly 200 meters away from the slums where he was giving out presentations to the slum dwellers. Pramod Parek, from the developers side, said that he had to hold a meeting a little far away from the slums because his people weren’t allowed to meet the slum dwellers to put forth his side. However, at the meeting site of the developer which was in an AC hall, there were slum dwellers who had come to listen to their side.
The election will be held on October 3, and the process includes holding a biometric registration of the present eligible slum dwellers. This will be done between 10 am to 1 pm.