Demolitions and the English press


Slum demolitions don’t attract press coverage; building demolitions do. Because buildings, not slums, are where people like us live. Where does this empathy go when slums are being demolished, asks JYOTI PUNWANI Pix: Medha fasts
Posted/Updated Thursday, May 16 15:12:21, 2013
HERE’S LOOKING AT US
Jyoti  Punwani
Slum demolitions don’t attract press coverage; building demolitions do. Because buildings, not slums, are where people like us – English journalists and our readers — live.
That’s understandable, even if one may not agree with the logic. But what’s difficult to understand is the blanket coverage given by Mumbai’s English press to the proposed demolition of 91 flats in an upscale part of town,which was scheduled to take place in the first week of May. From April 27, when it was reported that the residents had received notices from the Municipal Corporation, till May 3, the day after the Supreme Court gave them a five month reprieve, the main English papers carried at least one story everyday. The DNA and The Times of India devoted an entire page to the proposed demolition on one occasion, with the coverage extending to two full pages in The Times on May 1.
In principle, the demolition of these flats involved the core issue of slum demolitions – the right to shelter, even if that shelter is unauthorized. The residents had bought the flats and moved in knowing fully well that the buildings did not have the required Occupation Certificate (OC). Prolonged litigation over 14 years right up to the Supreme Court had finally resulted in a refusal in February this year to legalize them.Two months later, the BMC sent them notices to vacate, giving them just 48 hours’ notice.
For the residents, it must have been like the heavens had fallen – and that’s the way the English press projected it. Where will we go, our children have grown up here, we have aged parents, these flats our are life’s savings, why did the BMC take taxes from us all these years…these were the questions – very valid ones too – the residents were quoted as asking. Pen-portraits of some of them were carried with pictures of their old and ailing family members.
 They ran to the High Court for a reprieve. Rebuffed, they approached the Supreme Court, with renowned lawyer Fali Nariman arguing that they had the right to shelter. The day their case was to be heard in the Supreme Court, was also the day the demolition was to begin. Almost every paper carried a blow by blow account of the day – the tension till the2pm Supreme Court hearing, the demolition men arriving in vans, the havans and pujas, then the jubilation when the verdict came in.The reporters were euphoric too.Until then, the reporters had succeeded,through theirchoice of words (“eviction’’ was equated with “hardship’’), and quotes (“We are dying here everyday’’) to make us feel their pain.
Where does this empathy go when slums are being demolished? The emotions are the same; the questions raised by slum dwellers also the same. The only difference is that slum dwellers live illegally on public land, whereas these residents lived illegally on private land. But public land is the only shelter the urban poor can afford. They too pay for everything. They pay high deposits, and they pay more for water than we living in buildings do, having to buy it at market rates. Yes, some do get electricity illegally, but they have to pay the slumlord for that.
Like the BMC in the Campa Cola case, the authorities don’t act when a slum comes up. They move in to demolish only when it’s a full-blown settlement, often, after a generation has grown up there. And most slum families are joint families, so there’s no dearth of old and ailing family members who have to suffer the violence of the bulldozer.
Like the Campa Cola buildings, slums are also demolished at short notice, and at any time. It may be pouring or blazingly hot or windy and cold, exams may be on – none of this affects the demolition men. Alternate accommodation is rarely provided to slum-dwellers, mostly, they are left on the road. Babies have died after demolitions due to exposure to the elements. But in the Campa Cola case,  the BMC’s counsel himself told the Supreme Court, which wanted to give only a three-month reprieve,to extend it because August would be the peak of the monsoon!
Fears of having to live far away were voiced by the Campa Cola residents. But in the case of slum dwellers, if at all alternate accommodation is provided, it’s inevitably miles away, on the outskirts of Mumbai, in buildings constructed so close to each other they must surely be violating safety rules.
All this rarely gets into the papers these days. There was a time it did. Why are reporters not being sent now to do these stories?
 In March, Medha Patkar went on an indefinite fast against demolitions in a 60-year-old slum in Golibar, a suburban slum sprawl. This slum has seen repeated attempts over the last five years to destroy it. Every time, the residents have resisted, and Medha has intervened. In 2011 too, she had fasted till the CM intervened. In January this year, the slum dwellers forced the state government to set up an inquiry into six slum redevelopment projects, including this one. But even before the inquiry could be completed, the bulldozers moved in. This time, it took nine days before the CM deigned to intervene.
Thanks to Medha and the slum dwellers’ resistance, this slum is now well-known to the Mumbai press. Medha has provided enough evidence of fraud against the developer, Shivalik Ventures.  Criminal cases have been filed against them. They have violated court orders to rehabilitate slum dwellers and give them written agreements for new homes, before demolishing the existing ones.
 Given all this, why didn’t Medha’s fast against the illegal demolitions get half the coverage the Campa Cola residents did?
One reason could be that a second fast at the same venue for the same cause doesn’t make news. But her first fast hadn’t either!
Medha’s fast was covered in bits and pieces without any reporting from the site in Mumbai’s English press. Delhi-based Tehelka was the only one to do a report from the ground. That, and one brief report in The Times by Linah BAliga, which was upfront about the builder’s illegalities, was the only ones that merited attention.
This time, there was something really newsworthy about the demolition of this much-demolished slum. A day before the scheduled demolition, Union Minister for Housing Ajay Maken wrote to the Maharashtra CM asking him to ensure it didn’t take place. But neither the letter, nor the Maharashtra CM’s indifference to it, was highlighted by the English press, despite Medha’s team sending out a copy of it.
Is the main reason for the English press’ apathy towards slum demolitions the belief that slum demolitions are passé?That they are just meant to happen, given their illegal existence? And there’s nothing new to say anyway?
On the other hand, building residents being dishoused is news. “I am now down with my ayah,’’ one resident was quoted as saying; “She’s bringing food for me now,’’ said another. The residents even called those living in a nearby slum to boost their numbers as they stood guard at the entrance of their compound, refusing to let the demolition crew in. The reporters had reams of space, but none of them asked the residents what they felt after their own experience, about slum demolitions. What if their ayahs who were being so supportive in their time of crisis, were to be evicted overnight? They did quote one resident grumbling that the BMC was treating them like “slumlords’’ (surely he meant slum-dwellers? Slum lords are never touched), while a BMC official was quoted as saying they weren’t going to just go in and start demolishing the way they did with slums. Indeed.
But newsworthiness doesn’t explain the empathy shown towards these illegal residents. Except the Indian Express, the other papers didn’t think it important to explain why the Supreme Court had turned down the residents’ plea to regularize their flats in February. Despite being educated, the Supreme Court had observed, these residents had moved in to their flats, knowing they were not authorized.
Some of the residents, fearing the worst, did check out alternate accommodation. But said one resident to the Indian Express: “My children will not be able to stay in any other premises.’’ This too was considered worthy of reporting!
By Demolition day, the illegal residents had constructed an extra gate, andbarricaded their entrance with their cars, so that the BMC men could not enter. This was reported without comment; neither were the BMC officials asked about this obstruction to their work. What if slum dwellers did the same when they faced demolition?In 2011, the Golibar slum women, led by Medha Patkar, hadfaced the demolition squad and the police, waving the national flag and singing the national anthem. The police had dragged them into vans, cordoned off the slum, prevented the media from entering and gone in with the Slum Rehabilitation officials to arrest activists and terrorizethe slum dwellers.
Outside the barricaded Campa Cola compound, the BMC crew twiddled their thumbs for six hours till the Supreme Court verdict came. But in the Golibar slum, the demolition squad razed 70 homes in clear violation of both Union government and court orders.
At every stage, the coverage of the demolition of the Campa Cola apartments cried out for comparisons with the continuous demolitions of slums taking place in Mumbai. Alas, the Mumbai press never made that comparison.

 

Medha Patkar and Madhuri Shivkar call off their indefnite fast on Golibar demolitions


GHAR BACHAO – GHAR BANAO ANDOLAN

Affiliated with

NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF PEOPLE’S MOVEMENTS

National Office : A Wing First Floor, Haji Habib Building, Naigaon Cross Road, Dadar (E), Mumbai – 400 014.

E-mail: gbgbandolan@gmail.com | Web : www.napm-india.org

———————————————————————————————————————————-

April 13, 2013, Mumbai                               

We shall Fight!! We Shall Win!!!

No demolitions of the 6 projects untill the enquiry is complete

GaneshKrupa Society land belongs to the residents : decision of the joint meeting

Mandala to be the pilot project of Rajiv Awas Yojana of Mumbai

Process of slum declaration and providing civic amenities will happen according to the earlier agreement between Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan and Govt. of Maharashtra

All conditions of the LOI to be complied with and in cases of fraud documents it will be withdrawn

On the 9th day of Medha Patkar and Madhuri Shivkar’s fast at Golibar, Mumbai, Sh. Pritviraj Chavan, Chief Minister, Maharashtra intervened. After a meaningful meeting and written assurances by the Principal Secretary(Housing) and CEO, SRA followed by a meeting and agreement to the demands by the Chief Minister, Medha patkar and Madhuri Shivkar call off the fast at 1 AM on 13thApril, 2013, but the struggle will continue to ensure proper implementation of the decisions.

Earlier in the day on April 12, thousands of supporters and Slum Dwellers reached to the door step of Chief Minister Bunglow and protested there the whole day, which forced the Chief Minister to agree on the demands on the 9th day of the fast.

A delegation consisted of Sh. ChandraShekhar, Architect, Vidya Bal, Editor, Miloon Saryajani (a Marathi Magazine), Pushpa Dave, Writer, Anjali Damania, Sumit Wajale, Prerna Gaikwad, Ajit Gavkhedkar and residents of Golibar and other slums in Mumbai met the Chief Minister.

The fast started on 4th April, 2013 after demolition of 70+ houses of GaneshKrupa Society, Golibar with the following demands:-

1.       The enquiry in respect of 6 S.R.A. Projects, under the chairmanship of Principal secretary, Housing, is in progress since 13th January, 2013. We demand that the work in all these projects should be stopped untill the report of the enquiry is completed and actions taken on the recommendations.

2.       If demolitions are being carried out in accordance with court rulings but the preconditions put forth are not met, main issues and allegations of corruption through forgery, fraudulent consent are not resolved etc., then in such cases project work should be stopped and no further demolitions be carried.

3.       In cases where the residents have submitted self development projects or wish to submit the same, they should be sanctioned and encourgaed and started immediately.

4.       S.R.A. Should ensure that in case of ongoing S.R.A. Projects all conditions in L.O.I. should be complied with.

5.       The L.O.I. of the developer should be withdrawn wherever the developers have submitted forged / false documents or wrong information in violation of the L.O.I – as in case of Shivalik builders.

6.       The Chief Minister of Maharashtra has agreed to implement ‘Rajeev Awas Yojana’ in the slums of Mumbai instead of S.R.A., on 2nd January, 2013. However these very slums are being buldozed even today. So, the displacement of these slums should be stopped till R.A.Y. is implemented. The same was conveyed to the State Government by the Union Minister Ajay maken on April 2, 2013.

7.       Pilot projects in respect of slum at Mandala, Mankhurd under the R.A.Y. Have already been submiited to the state as well as Central Governments. That should be approved and implemented at the earliest.

8.       Civic amenities (like water, toilets, nallahs, roads ) should be provided to all the slums immediately as per the written assurance given by the Municipal Commissioner.

9.       The Chief Secretary had given a written assurance on 25th May, 2011 that 19 bastis as agreed in the list, after 9 day fast by Medha Patkar, will be decalred slums within 3 months. There is no action on this assurance till date. The same should be done. The Chief Minister, and the Principal Secretary, Ministry of Housing had premised again in January, 2013 to complete this action during discussions held with them. They also gave a written assurance to that effect. The displacements that are being carried out at present are, therefore, grossly unjust and hence should be stopped forthwith.

10.    Shri Ajay Maken, Minister for Housing and Urban poverty alleviation, Government of India has written a letter to the Chief Minister, Maharashtra state on 2nd April, 2013. The Chief Minister should declare his stand on the letter in writing.

11.    The land of Sathe Nagar should be given for R.A.Y. . This land is currently under the hold of Bombay Soap company.

 

Chief Minister Agreed to the Following :-

1.      On the issue of Ganesh Krupa Society’s Land: The residents of the Society has paid the amount towards the cost of the land to the government which they agreed. Without the consent of the residents the land cannot be developed. A Joint Meeting within a week will decide about the development of the land.

2.      Rehabilitation building has been constructed on the Defence land which is under court process. No one at the rehabilitation site will be homeless even if defence wins the case. MHADA and Government of Maharashtra will look into the matter. 

3.      No demolition untill the enquiry is complete :- Chief Minister agreed to halt on demolitions of the 6 SRA projects by the Principal Secretary (housing) till the enquiry report comes and action taken. They will take action on the fraudulent cases related to SRA. The enquiry has been promised to be completed by 15th May, 2013.

4.      Mandala will be declared as the Pilot Project of Rajiv Awas Yojana in Mumbai. Chief Minister will talk to the Central Govt. to implement Rajiv Awas Yojana in Mumbai.

5.      Slum declaration process will be according to the earlier agreement between the Andolan and Government of Maharashtra in May, 2011.

6.      Chief Minister agreed to take Mandala as the Pilot Project of Rajiv Awas Yojana and to talk to the Central Government on RAY.

7.      They  ensured all ongoing SRA projects will be complied with all conditions of LOI and in cases of Fraud documents, LOI will be withdrawn.

 

After the agreement between Chief Minister and the delegation from the Movement, Medha Patkar and Madhuri Shivkar call off the fast by Vidya Tai Bal and Pushpa Tai Dave.

Prerna Gaikwad, Aba Tandel, Ajit Gavkhedkar, Alex, Sumit Wajale, Sandeep Yeole, Rajkumar, Santosh Thorat, Shriram Bhardwaj, Ajay Palande, Sangeeta, Jameel Bhai, Imtiaz Sheikh, Poonam Kanaujia, Uday Mohite, Seela Manaswinee

 

Contact : 09892727063 | 09212587159 | napmindia@gmail.com

Protests TV won’t show Golibar Demolitions Protest. Hunger Strike for 7 days and counting


By- rapper activist,  Ashwini Mishra

43 families living in Ganesh Kripa Society lost their homes in the first week of April in the illegal Golimar demolitions. The demolitions, driven by Shivalik Builders continued even after Union Minister of Housing Ajay Maken requested the Maharashtra CM to stop them. These demolitions have been driven by a huge scam and the demolitions were supposed to be stopped till investigation was completed.

As of now 43 families are now living on the Maidan but their spirit remains strong. At time of this video, they along with Medha Patkar have been fasting for 5 days to protest the illegal demolitions. By law the builders have to provide the residents alernative accomodations. But no such action has been taken. Stand in solidarity with the people of Golibar and protest this brutal denial of housing rights of the poor.

#Mumbai -Why is Medha Patkar on Indefinite #HungerStrike since April 4th, 2013 at Golibar #mustshare


The Golibar SRA, Demolitions, Indefinite Hunger Strike by Medha Patkar
from April 4, 2013 at Golibar, Mumbai.

medha

What’s the big issue?

The corruption and nexus between the Government and Builders under the
cover of the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) in Mumbai, that has
led to lakhs of slum-dwellers struggling for the basic right to a
house. The most recent example is collapse of a 8 storey building in
Mumbra, constructed within a span of 2-3 months leading to death of
more than 70 people.

What’s wrong with SRA?

SRA authorises private builders to redevelop slum land. The
slum-dwellers are moved into vertical establishments, and the land
that is thus freed up, becomes available as a free-sale component in
the property market. Privatisation also means that the government is
not responsible for maintaining transparency and quality. Since the
money to be made from new land sales in Mumbai is extremely high,
there is a vicious competition amongst the builders to woo the slum
residents.

Moreover, SRA only authorises a house to those people who can show
their citizenship until 1995. It also gives the power of go-ahead to
the Builder if they can attain approval of 70% of the people in a
society. These 2 facts are exploited by the Builders to practise
extortion, fraud and forgery at the ground level, and have become the
common practise to lure societies into signing a deal with them.

A date based cut-off to the Right to a House, and limited
participation of a government agency, have made the SRA into a
pro-Builder scheme. This needs to be rectified.

But why redevelop slums? Aren’t they illegal in the first place?

Today 60% of the population of Mumbai lives in slums. Those recognised
under SRA have paid Assessment Tax to the government. The people
living here comprise the major part of the people working in the
service industry and small-scale industries. Slums are not a result of
squatting, but instead because of a lack of low-cost housing options.
This big gap in housing development has left only very high-cost
options that the poorer people cannot afford.

So is SRA the only scheme for redevelopment?

It is the most prominent one in place to resettle slums. Others look
into Project Affected People (PAP) – people forced to move because of
development of Highways, high-tech parks etc. For settlements that
came into being after the cut-off date of 1995, there are currently no
schemes at all.

Why now? What’s the urgency?

This is not a recent struggle. People of the slums have been fighting
for their rights since 2004, when vast areas of slums in Mumbai were
razed to the ground by the Vilasrao Deshmukh government to convert
Mumbai to Shanghai. The Adarsh Housing Scam, Hiranandani Developers
Land grab are examples of the extent to which a handful of powerful
people are robbing the common man of a basic right to shelter.

Another such instance is the history of ‘redevelopment’ in Khar
Golibar, wherein 140 acres of land- home to 46 societies and over
26,000 families – has been literally gifted to a single private
company – Shivalik Ventures, by invoking a special clause – 3K- of the
SRA. This clause gives a single builder complete rights to redevelop a
large slum without inviting tenders.

A small society of 323 houses in Golibar – Ganesh Krupa – has become
the flash point for the struggle between the SRA/Builder nexus and the
Slum dwellers, ever since it slapped a case of fraud and forgery on
Shivalik Ventures, the builder that forcefully undertook the rights to
their development. 6 forced demolition drives over the past 1 year led
to the society appealing to Medhatai Patkar and ‘Ghar Bachao Ghar
Banao’ for help.

She undertook a 9 day hunger strike in May 2011, which resulted in
formation of two committees to look in to the irregularities and
corruption in SRA schemes and another to look in to regularisation on
slums. However, none of these committees were made functional under
pressure from builder lobby.

Once again, when the whole world was celebrating the beginning of a
new year, working class of Mumbai dwelling in bastis marched for two
days to continue their camp in Azad Maidan for ten days which resulted
in another investigation committee under Principal Secretary, Housing,
Government of Maharashtra to look in corruption and irregularities. It
was also said that no evictions and demolitions would be undertaken
while the investigations are on, but on April 2 – 3rd, in presence of
hundreds of policemen and bouncers of Shivalik builders, demolitions
were carried on in Ganesh Krupa Housing Society.

On April 2nd even Union Minister for Housing and Poverty Alleviation
Ministry, Mr. Ajay Maken wrote a detailed letter, asking Maharashtra
government to not go ahead with demolitions but even then 43 houses
were demolished. Why, when the Ministry of Environment and Forest
ordered demolition of Adarsh Housing Society, over illegalities even
then it stands tall on Mumbai’s coast, working class of Mumbai asks ?

CM Shri Prithviraj Chauhan on several occasions assured Medhatai
Patkar and Andolan of an inquiry into the matter of Golibar
demolitions, and the larger issue of redevelopment of slums in Mumbai,
no action has been taken over. This has forced Medhatai to go on an
indefinite fast to get justice once again, within a span of two years.

What’s the history of Ganesh Krupa Society?

The slum housing the Ganesh Krupa Society consists of 324 tenements.
The slum was declared in 1997 and the rehabilitation scheme was
approved in favour of M/s Madhu Construction Company, to which the
slum dwellers were amenable. The Slum Rehabilitation Authority had
issued a Letter of Intent bearing No. SRAIENG/819/HE/PULOI dated 3rd
October 2004 in favour of Madhu Constructions, however due to
financial constraints and pressure from big companies, Madhu
Constructions could not undertake the project and hence entered into a
Joint Venture Agreement with Shivalik Ventures Pvt. Ltd. on 3rd March
2008, without the knowledge of the slum dwellers. Thereafter Shivalik
Ventures indulged in forging documents to procure the Letter of Intent
bearing No. SRA/ENG/1188/HE/ML/LOI dated 20th August 2009. The crucial
resolution dated 7th February 2009 of the Society approving of and
giving consent to the company to carry out the development itself has
been fabricated by Shivalik Ventures, in respect of which criminal
proceedings initiated by the slum dwellers are pending. However,
relying on the fraudulent document and consequential actions Shivalik
has succeeded in obtaining favourable orders from the Courts and began
forcible and illegal demolition of houses in the slum. While 167
families have voluntarily shifted, but 48 houses were demolished in
January 2011, and on 19th and 20th May 2011, 24 houses in total were
demolished, and 43 houses on April 2-3, 2013..

The slum dwellers have already initiated criminal action in regard to
the fraudulent document purported to be the General Body Resolution
dated 7th February 2009 and can always avail of the necessary civil
remedies available to them, there is one another important aspect that
is of mammoth proportions and consequences, and this being the link of
this, and other projects of Shivalik Ventures, to the 2G scam.

Who is Shivalik Ventures?

Unitech owns 50% of shares of Shivalik Ventures Pvt. Ltd. even as per
its own website and Annual Report 2009-10 (page 52). The Annual Report
2009-10 of Unitech further provides under the heading “Capital
Commitment” that:

“Investment in 10,00,000 equity shares of Rs. 10 each at a premium of
Rs. 9990/-per share aggregating of Rs. 1000 crore has been made in
joint venture company, Shivalik Ventures Pvt. Ltd. An Amount of Rs.
442.77 crore has been paid against the allotment of fully paid-up
shares. The balance securities premium of Rs.557.23 crores will be
accounted for on payment.”

As pointed above, Shivalik Ventures, in turn, has entered into an
agreement of Joint Venture on 2nd March 2008 with M/s Madhu
Construction Company to jointly develop Ganesh Krupa slum at Golibar.

It is important to highlight the period during which Unitech has
entered into re-development of slums in Mumbai since it corresponds to
the period during which it illegally secured thousands of crores in
the 2G scam. The Director of Unitech has been included in the charge
sheet filed by CBI and has been under arrest since then. And as per
the CAG report, Unitech after availing the Spectrum licence in
September – October 2008 for Rs 1658 crores subsequently sold it off
to Telenor company at the rate of Rs 6120 crores. According to CBI,
Unitech was alloted Unified Access Service licenses in 22 circles for
Rs.1,658 crores, 60% of which it offloaded to Norway’s Telenor even
before roll-out.

We are apprehensive that this illegal gratification enjoyed by the
Company has been diverted and invested in its 50% equity at the
Shivalik Ventures Pvt. Ltd. and the same is being channeled into the
developmental projects of Shivalik Ventures including the slum
projects in Golibar.

Why is Medha Tai Patkar on an indefinite fast again ?

Previous attempts to initiate corrective action from the government’s
side have met with no success. Along with Medhatai, a large delegation
of 10,000 strong from different slums in Mumbai had even marched to
Azad Maidan in January to raise the issue of redevelopment. Despite
this, the police and builders men entered Ganesh Krupa with impunity
and razed it to the ground with a bulldozer. An indefinite fast is now
the only alternative left. These are the demands:

Right to Housing
HALT evictions and demolitions until the investigations by Principal
Secretary, Housing Mr. Debashish Chakravarty is completed.
Slum Rehabilitation Authority Scheme projects in Mumbai are full of
flaws, frauds and corruption leading to atrocities against the slum
dwellers. Thousands are made shelterless and sent on rent which is
discontinued and others decay in transit camps for years.
Hence, Revoke 3k clause and thus cancel the agreements between
builders and SRA for the 6 projects where 3k has been applied.
including Shivalik – a part of 2G spectrum scam.
Review SRA scheme itself and modify it to allow Self-development as an option.
Revive the two Independent Enquiry Committees which had members from
civil society as well and were formed in May 2011 to investigate SRA
projects where conflict and protest has arisen between the people and
authorities.
Implement Rajiv Aawas Yojna across the slums in Mumbai, which promises
a house to everyone without one, irrespective of a cut off date
through the model of self development.
Implement Slum Act and declare unauthorised colonies as ‘Slums’ to
carry on slum improvement with basic amenities.
After revoking Urban Land Ceiling Act, 30,000 Acres land should have
become available, which can still be acquired by State Government and
distributed amongst urban poor and middle class cooperative societies
for housing.
No development plan should be without the free prior consent of the
Basti Sabha. Bring amendments or a new legislation to incorporate this
provision in the Nagar Raj Act.

Services to Urban Poor
Revoke all cut off dates in any existing policy or act for supply of
water, right to water is a fundamental right of everyone, as of now
the cut off date is year 1995.
Sanitation, electricity, and roads should be made available to all BPL
families at a priority basis.
Have a meeting with the Secretary, Minister, Controller and the Right
to Food State Adviser to implement the universal PDS with efficiency,
and without corruption.

What can you do?

Join in large numbers at the dharna sthal in Golibar (nearest station
is Khar Road, Santacruz on Western line) stand in support of the
movement, spread the word to the wider public, media, and/or, cover
the story yourself.

You must also write to them to address this injustice and the way
lives of working class people are being put at stake in Mumbai and
their rights to housing denied.

1.

Shri Prithviraj Chavan,

Chief Minister,

Government of Maharashtra,

Mantrayala, Mumbai

Ph: 022-23634950

E-mail: chiefminister@maharashtra.gov.in,

ashish.valsa@gmail.com
Shri Debashish Chakrabarty,

Principal Secretary, Housing,

Government of Maharashtra,

Mantrayala, Mumbai

Ph: 022-22023036

E-mail: psec.housing@maharashtra.gov.in

2.Sh. Ajay Maken

Union Minister of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation

Phone :011 – 23061928 / 42/ 23063989 Fax : 23061780

email :ajay.maken@nic.in

3. Justice K G Balakrishnan

Chaiperson, National Human Rights Commission Delhi.

Fax 91-11-23384012

email : covdnhrc@nic.in, ionhrc@nic.in

4. Prof. Shantha Sinha, Chairperson

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights

23731583
23731584 (Fax), shantha.sinha@nic.in

5. Smt. Sonia Gandhi
10, Janpath, New Delhi.
Tel. (O) : 23792263, 23019080
Tel. (R) : 23014161, 23014481
Fax : 23018651

email : soniagandhi@sansad.nic.in

6. Sushma Swaraj, Leader of Oppsition

Ambala Cantt.(Haryana)
01123794344, 9868181930
sushma.swaraj@bjp.org

7. Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India

South Block, Raisina Hill, New Delhi. India-110011.

Telephone: 91-11-23012312. Fax: 91-11-23019545 / 91-11-23016857.

email : manmohan@sansad.nic.in

 

Despite Union minister’s letter, 43 houses demolished in Mumbai #Ajaymaken


STAFF REPORTER, The Hindu, April3, 2013 

A protest rally in front of Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi against demolition of Golibar slum in Mumbai. A file photo: V. Sudershan.
The HinduA protest rally in front of Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi against demolition of Golibar slum in Mumbai. A file photo: V. Sudershan.

Paying no heed to the letter from Ajay Maken, Minister of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation asking the Chief Minister of Maharashtra to stop demolition of the houses of slum dwellers, around 43 houses were demolished under the supervision from the collector’s office at Mumbai’s Golibar slum on Wednesday.

The activists of National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM) have alleged that the Shivalik Ventures, the developer of prime property of 125 acres called Golibar in suburban Mumbai, in connivance with government officials carried out the demolition.

The Golibar Project has been surrounded by controversy from last five years after it was alleged that the Shivalik Ventures has forged various documents to secure consent of the slum dwellers. Also the houses built for rehabilitation are on the lands of Railways and Defence ministry. The Defence ministry has approached the court, claiming its right on the land and the Railways have taken an undertaking that the buildings will be demolished whenever it requires the land back.

On Tuesday, Mr. Maken had sent a letter to Prithviraj Chavan, which said, “I however, would request you to also ensure that wherever, as in these six Slum Rehabilitation Scheme (SRS) projects under inquiry, there are prima facie illegality, no irreversible damage or eviction of residents should be permitted to be done with police force – the aim solely being that of protecting the already marginalised urban poor.” The Golibar Project is one of the six projects in which inquiry has been ordered.

The government officials however said that they did not receive any instruction from the chief minister office. “If the letter has been sent to chief minister then his office will send the necessary reply to the ministry. However, we did not get any order from our higher ups. We are working as per the court orders,” said PR Rokade, Deputy Collector (Encroachment Removal).

Sumit Wajale of NAPM said that the government officials are working for the builders and not for the government. “The demolition drive is purposely undertaken to finish off the resistance even before the ordered inquiry is concluded,” he said, alleging that the demolition drive was also guarded by private security agencies provided by the builder.

PRESS RELEASE- Maharashtra Government Takes no Action Against Proved Illegality by Shivalik Builders


Photo

Whose Interests are they Serving in this Democracy ?

April 2: Ignoring a stern letter from Shri Ajay Maken, Union Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, to Shri Prithviraj Chavan, CM Maharashtra, demolitions in presence of more than 500 policemen and women continued. Nearly 43 houses have been demolished till now by a 200 demolition squad, with active assistance from Shivalik builders bouncers and men, and Kiran Jadhav & Sharad Jhadav, Directors in company personally supervising the same. Houses of Ganesh Krupa Co-operative Housing Society were demolished even though an investigation has been going on against the builders for forging signatures of residents to show their consent for slum redevelopment.

Hundreds of letters asking the Chief Minister to stop demolition has been received too but perhaps pressure from the Builders is too much for Mr. Chief Minister to handle. He has said he will do something, but then why is he not stopping the bulldozers ?

Earlier Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan – GBGB wrote to Chief Minister once again asserting the following :

  1. Slum Rehabilitation Authority Scheme projects in Mumbai are full of flaws, frauds and corruption leading to atrocities against the slum dwellers. Thousands are made shelterless and sent on rent which is discontinued and others decay in transit camps for years. The land rights and co-operative societies related processes and documents are also found to be violating the law and forgery related cases are also filed but it takes years to get an FIR lodged and it goes through years for investigation.

  2. Maharashtra Government had agreed, after a ten day long agitation in first week of January 2013, to get at least 6 projects investigated through the Principal Secretary, Housing Mr. Debashish Chakravarty. That enquiry began in February and open presentations were made on 7th – 8th February, 2013. Builders – Developers / their representatives were also present in most of the cases and some made submissions too. However, even before the enquiry report is finalized and received by CM’s office and us, there is continuous eviction taking place with police force, destroying decades old houses and vcausing irreversible damage, without resolving the issues. This is extremely unjust. Arrests, false cases and everything happened in the month of March in Golibar and Chandivali, as in other slums.

  3. Even where there are courts’ orders, some or the other directions by the Court are not complied with and yet the eviction is taking place, with brutality. Moreover, in case of Ganesh Krupa, Golibar it is clear that transit camps are not provided within 300 mts as promised and upheld by the Court. The Transit camps are in totally uninhabitable condition as per the letter given by the CEO, SRA in December, 2012 for some other society in Golibar, who were also offered transit in the same buildings.

  4. There is a criminal case filed and enquiry is on in the case of Ganesh Krupa Society, Golibar with documents which indicates that there was no consent by 70% people and the General Body Meeting documents are fraudulent. Similar complaints are lodged by some other societies too. The Joint Commissioner, Mr. Datyeji inspected the documents few days back and directed the officials to re-investigate the matter thoroughly.

  5. None of the societies and dwellers in Golibar have received any document confirming that they will get a permanent accommodation in what time limit, of what area and where (in situ rehabilitation is to be ensured as per the SRA scheme, as also the Court’s orders) and hence people want house on their own land. Also, in none of these, people have received any documents. The files in SRA show the agreements between the slum dwellers and some other contractors which they had engaged earlier, but not with Shivalik ventures.

  6. In the case of Golibar, permanent rehabilitation buildings are on the lands of the Defence Ministry’s and Railways. Defence Ministry’s case is pending before the City Civil Court, Dindoshi as directed by HC. Railways have taken an undertaking that those buildings will be demolished, as and when land is required by Railways. How can the dwellers permit their fate to be hung in such circumstances.

  7. Out of 26,000 families, as slum dwelling families in Golibar, according to the developer, 10,000 families have vacated, while the CEO, SRA and officials claim that permission is granted only for 5,500 families as slum dwellers to be rehabilitated. This gross discrepancy is not yet settled. Whatever, the total number, it is also a ground reality that only 900 families are shifted in the permanent rehab buildings that too on the land of the Defence of Railway Ministry. Not more than 1500 families are in the transit camps. Where are the others? Obviously thousands of families are on rent, shifted out with direct or indirect force but not yet settled anywhere. It is also known from the ground survey that at least 20,000 sq. kms land is vacant and available for the developer and yet forcible eviction is imposed on the people.

Demolishing 70 to 100 years old houses in Golibar is criminal and in complete disregard of law of the land. NAPM strongly condemns such action and vows to continue its fight. You can break few more houses but can’t break the resolve of the people to fight for dignified living and shelter. We urge every conscientious individual to join and support our struggle for a dignified living. Continue writing, protesting and shaming those in power, why are the afraid of their own enquiry report by the Principal Secretary, Housing. Let the truth come out, until then stop playing with the lives of citizens of this country.

Medha Patkar, Prerna Gaekwad, Simpreet Singh, Sumit Wajale, Sandeep Yevale, Jameel Bhai

For details call : 9699918964 / 09423965153

 

Housing Minister Ajay Maken asks CM to investigate Golibar scam; demolitions instead


Posted on April 2, 2013 by 

This morning Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan received a letter from the Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Government of India, Ajay Maken. The three page letter, which is attached here, says –

“Your decision to investigate six of the proposed or under construction projects through the Principal Secretary (Housing) was conveyed to me, which is a welcome step. I however, would request you to ensure that wherever as in these six SRS projects under enquiry, there are prima facie illegality, no irreversible damage or eviction of residents should be permitted to be done with police force – the aim soley being that of protecting the already marginalised urban poor…”

This afternoon, 18 homes in Ganesh Krupa Society, Golibar were demolished. Over 150 police officers accompanied officials from the Collector’s office as three bulldozers razed these houses to the ground. When they left this evening, they promised to be back tomorrow and the day after, with double the force to demolish the remaining 27 homes. The Chief Minister said he ‘will try and do something.’

The Chief Minister will try and do something. The police don’t even try. They only show up when the builder wants them to. The Court ignores that the builder has broken laws. Are we fooling ourselves we live in a democracy?

 

PRESS RELEASE- #India – House for Every Homeless Families ?


 

PIB Press Release
           
            As per Census 2001, total houseless households in the country stood at 0.45 million.  Census of India 2011 data on houseless households has not been released as on date, therefore, estimation of houseless households as of now and its comparison with the number in 2001 cannot be made at this juncture. However ‘Technical Group on Urban Housing Shortage’ has indicated that 0.53 million Households are in homeless condition in urban areas as of 2012.  This was stated by Shri Ajay Maken, Union Minister of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA), in the Rajya Sabha today, in a written reply to a question by Shri C. P. Narayanan.
                        The Minister further stated that Land’ and ‘Colonisation’ are State subjects, therefore it is the primary responsibility of State Governments to provide houses/shelters to all citizens. Government of India did not have any scheme for construction of shelters for homeless persons during the Eleventh Five Year Plan. However, in order to complement and supplement the initiatives of State Governments in providing housing for the urban poor, Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation has been implementing following schemes/programmes:
·         Under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) with its two components Basic Services to Urban Poor (BSUP) and Integrated Housing & Slum Development Programme (IHSDP), 1.57 million Dwelling Units have been sanctioned as on date.
·         The scheme of Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) is at a preparatory phase where Slum Free City Planning is being undertaken.
·         Under Affordable Housing in Partnership Scheme (AHP), 11 projects of 2 States viz., Karnataka & Rajasthan have been sanctioned.
·         The Interest Subsidy Scheme for Housing the Urban Poor (ISHUP) is meant to facilitate channelization of credit for the urban poor. As on date, 13,485 beneficiaries have been covered under ISHUP.
                        Under National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM), ‘Shelters for Urban Homeless’ has been proposed to be taken up during Twelfth Five Year Plan. However, since necessary approvals have not been obtained, no time frame for its finalization can be committed at this juncture.
                     The Minister further stated that given the magnitude of the housing shortage and budgetary constraints of both the Central and State Governments, it is clear that Public Sector efforts will not alone suffice in fulfilling the housing demand. The exact time span to ensure a house to every family in the country cannot be estimated, the Minister added.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#India- Urban poor to be identified on vulnerabilities


By , TNN | Jan 14, 2013, 04.36 AM IST

NEW DELHI: The urban poor will now be identified on the basis of social, economic and occupational vulnerabilities as the housing and poverty alleviation ministry has decided to junk the Planning Commission‘s income benchmark.

As of now, families earning below Rs 4,824 a month are put in the bracket of urban poor.

The move comes as the ministry is finding it difficult to identify beneficiaries in metropolises and other cities, where few families earn below the BPL cutoff while many of them live in vulnerable conditions.

It has also been noticed that income certificates are forged or are being procured after bribing officials.

As the socio-economic census is going on across the country, the ministry is working on a mechanism according to which urban poor will be defined according to people’s vulnerabilities. Under the mechanism, families will be divided into two groups — those automatically included the other automatically excluded — in the poverty bracket.

Those automatically included in the poverty bracket will be the homeless and jobless. Automatically excluded will be families with a pakka house, motor vehicle or electronic appliances such as air-conditioner or refrigerator.

Those included will be graded by the ministry on the basis of economic, social, occupational and housing vulnerabilities. Based on data from the caste census, families will be graded and assigned points according to their needs.

“The formula will help in identifying poor in terms of vulnerabilities and government schemes will target the vulnerable group. It will result in better targeting,” housing and urban poverty alleviation minister Ajay Makentold TOI, adding that the identification of urban poor will be based on the recommendations of the Hashim committee.

“Those living in slums will automatically be eligible for benefits under the slum-rehabilitation scheme,” the minister said.

The new mechanism is also aimed at ensuring distribution of benefits of government schemes to city-specific “vulnerable” basket as per the specific needs in a particular city.

If a family scores very high on the housing vulnerability index, it would be given priority under slum upgradation schemes and Rajiv Awas Yojana, an official said.

Once the census is complete, the city-specific urban poor basket will be ready. “We will take it up with other ministries also to adopt the new criteria,” Maken said.

 

__._,_.___

 

Para-athletes insulted by Paralympic Commitee – Pl sign the petition


Punish PCI for disrespecting Indian Paralympians at 2012 games

 

I , Farmaan Basha  am writing to you from the 2012 London Paralympics Games village. I am affected with polio, but I have been Power-lifting since 2000. I was even honoured with the Arjuna Award

My wife, Antonia sold her jewellery so I could represent India at the Games. She was also supposed to help me get my way around events. She’s my soulmate and I owe my success to her.

Sadly, today she’s stranded outside the games village, because Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) members are using the free facilities meant for athletes and their support staff.

Thats why I started a petition on Change.org telling Sports Minister Ajay Maken to take strict action against PCI members for their conduct and derecognise the body altogether. http://www.change.org/en-IN/petitions/minister-of-sports-india-stop-treating-indian-paralympians-as-second-class-citizens

Even my coach, Sadanand Malashetti, who has trained me for years now, couldn’t access the Games Village even though his name was in the list of attendees provided by the Indian Govt.

The actions of the PCI members have humiliated me and my fellow athletes.

Prior to the event, I was lifting 170 kg in the 48kg class. When I was informed that my coach and wife would not be allowed to enter the games village my performance was badly affected and I couldn’t even lift 148 kgs.

Overcoming these difficulties, after a lot of hard-work and under emotional trauma, I managed to get 5th place in the powerlifting event. After the event when I asked for a pass for my wife who is legally my escort, I was denied the pass since the PCI wanted to punish me for complaining against them.

Join me in helping Indian paralympic players get the recognition they deserve. Tell Ajay Maken, the Minister of Sports to take strict action against the corrupt practices of Paralympic Committee of India. http://www.change.org/en-IN/petitions/minister-of-sports-india-stop-treating-indian-paralympians-as-second-class-citizens

Thanks in advance for taking action,

Farmaan Basha,

2012 London Paralympic Games Village

 

 

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