MUMBAI: Less than two years after CM Devendra Fadnavis promised in-situ rehabilitation or free housing for existing slumdwellers on Juhu airport land, the state government has backtracked and said the land would continue to be reserved for an airport or heliport. This means 60,000 slumdwellers occupying 78 acres out of the airport’s 385 acres will have to move out.
During the 2017 BMC poll campaign, Fadnavis had said all slumdwellers on airport land would be rehabilitated in-situ. This was in line with PM Modi’s ambitious “housing for all” (by 2022) scheme. The civic body, while preparing the draft DP-2034, had proposed the Juhu airport land be reserved for an airport/ heliport. Local BJP corporator Renu Hansraj had proposed the airport/heliport reservation be deleted and replaced with affordable housing and a tank/pond/lake as per the existing site status.
Hansraj’s request was approved by the BMC general house and was incorporated in the draft DP sent to the state for its approval.
But the scrutiny committee set up by the state government has refused to give sanction to the changed reservation and reinstated the original. The scrutiny committee includes Nitin Kareer, principal secretary, urban development department, and municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta.
“The reservation for affordable housing scheme on Juhu airport land has been cancelled and reservation for airport restored in the Development Plan–2034,” Kareer said.