Maharashtra regularizes Mumbai slums

In a major poll-eve bonanza for slum-dwellers, the Maharashtra government Wednesday decided to accord recognition to all slums that have come up till early 2000.

 

The decision was announced by Chief Minister Ashok Chavan following a meeting of the state cabinet. All slums that have come up between 1995 and 2000 shall be considered as legal and hence eligible for all development, re-development and other schemes of the state government.

 

However, the relevant government resolution (GR) in the matter would be issued only after the Supreme Court gives its ruling in an appeal the state government has filed on the issue.

 

According to an official from the housing department, some NGOs had challenged in the Bombay High Court the government's move to extend the period up to which slums in Mumbai will be deemed legal.

 

The NGOs had argued that slums till 1985 were regularised, followed by 1995, so there was no need for further regularisation of slums that have come up till 2000.

 

The high court had ruled that there could be no further extension of the cut-off date (01-01-1995) for regularizing slums. This was challenged by the state government in the apex court.

 

The Supreme Court had sought some clarifications that were submitted by the state government a few weeks ago. The ruling is expected shortly, the official said.

 

He said after the GR is issued, the slums that have come up would be granted full protection under various government laws. They would be entitled to various schemes and be eligible for re-development under Slum Redevelopment Authority (SRA) norms.

 

The proposal to extend the date to 01-01-2000 was part of the Congress manifesto in the 2004 assembly elections, which it won and formed the Democratic Front government for the second consecutive term in partnership with the Nationalist Congress Party.

 

"By this one stroke, the ruling DF would get an edge in at least 20 percent of the 35 assembly seats in Mumbai," a Congress party office-bearer said, requesting anonymity.

 

At present, of the total 1.3 crore Mumbaikars, an estimated 75 lakh people live in slums spread across the length and breadth of the city.

 

The new policy will benefit slums pockets that have cropped up in the last 15 years in suburbs like Dahisar, Borivli West, Malad, Ghatkopar, Bhandup, Mankhurd, Andheri East, and parts of central Mumbai.

 

However, those that have come after the proposed cut-off date (January 2000), shall be treated as illegal and can be demolished by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai.