Mumbai- Houses Demolished, Thousands Left to Fend for Themselves


Brazen Violation of Existing Norms, Ongoing Investigations by Maharashtra Government in Mumbai

Houses Demolished just Before Start of Monsoon, Thousands Left to Fend for Themselves

Mumbai, June 4: With the onset of pre-monsoon, the slums in Mumbai have been witness tobulldozers and police brutality as today i.e 4th June saw bulldozers moving over the houses at Ganpat Patil Nagar, Sanjay Nagar, Indira Nagar, Adarsh Nagar – Mumbai. Around 250 houses were demolished at Ganpat Patil Nagar and more than 300 houses were broken down at Adarsh Nagar-Indira Nagar & Sanjay Nagar. As always, the police force was present in huge numbers and disrespectful to the protestors that included men, women, children and the aged, even the pregnant ladies were not excused of high handedness. With the onset of the monsoon, the vulnerability is increased as these families have no roof over their heads and their belongings either crushed or lying here and there.

The demolition drive at Ganpat Patil Nagar was done under the pretext of ‘protecting mangroves’ as per the orders of the Bombay High Court which not at all had said anything about demolishing slums. The over enthusiasm shown by the local MLA of Shiv Sena – Vinod Ghosalkar in demolishing this slum and evicting the families from the land exposes the nexus with the land mafia which wants to transform this locality into high rise buildings and towers. Even the Forest Department has informed that they do not want for demolition of slums but only protection of mangroves.

At Indira Nagar, Adarsh Nagar & Sanjay Nagar, the demolitions were done under the excuse of widening the nala (sewerage) but that remains an excuse only as last year also, during the same period a demolition drive was undertaken for the purpose of expanding the nala which never happened. Activist Siraj Ahmed was detained by the local police when he led the slum dwellers in protest to the demolition.

Most shocking and deplorable is the fact that in January this year, no less than the Chief Minister of Maharashtra & Chief Secretary had promised to under take a survey of the these settlement for the purpose of declaring them as slums and provisioning of basic amenities. Instead of water pipe lines and toilet blocks they have sent bulldozers and police force. It seems that the slogan of ‘slum free india’ is to be realised by bulldozing the existing slums and not be upgrading or resettling them.

It is apprehended that the demolition squad might again come tomorrow, though the slum dwellers are firm in their resolve to resist and fight against the bulldozers as well as the rules that make such deplorable acts possible.

Sumit Wajale Siraj Ahmed Sangeeta Kamble Jamil Bhai

Contact : 9892727063

National Alliance of People’s Movements
National Office : 6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura RoadNew Delhi 110014
Phone : 011 26241167 / 24354737 Mobile : 09818905316
Web : http://www.napm-india.org

Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/NAPMindia
Twitter : @napmindia

 

Urgent Action Alert: stop brutal demolition of houses in Mumbai


Stop Brutal Demolition of Houses of poor in Mumbai

The monsoon is on the doorstep ready to make the situation a little worrisome in Mumbai but the authorities, as it seems, has decided to bring the worst for Ganpat Patil Nagar through their reckless planned decision to demolish it today. While 25000 families in GP Nagar have a sword hanging on their heads over last 4 months and while six deaths had occurred during brutal demolition in January, once again Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai is ready with the police force, this morning under disguised reason of ‘Mangrove protection’.  Adarsh Nagar and Indira Nagar in Govandi, Mumbai are also given a notice to vacate altogether 600-700 houses by June 4th tomorrow, in the name of naala building, drainage.

The local leaders of GP Nagar and activists have taken all pains to find out the documents and from discussions with the authorities that

  • The forest department has given in writing that it has nothing to do with the demolition and there is no plan for Mangrove protection.
  • There are no more than 10 houses within 50 meters from Mangrove.
  • No judgment (in BEAG vs State of Maharashtra & others) has ever directed demolition of slums or any building but only directed protection of Mangrove since 2005.

GP Nagar slum was fully exiting in 2005as per Google maps. High pakka buildings are under construction since last few years, but no demolition of those is planned. The GP Nagar slum on one hand provided water supply and other basic amenities yet on the other hand, tried to be demolished.

The poor toiling their family belongings are unprotected workers, women, and children face atrocities whenever they lose their shelter. The NHRC has been appealed to intervene and so is the National Commission on Children. Yet they have neither indicated any identification nor has written to the state government.

The Govt. of Maharashtra promised in 2011 & even thereafter that slums will be declared as per section 4 of the Slums Act, 1971 and all amenities will be provided as per section 5 (A), yet without taking that process forward, poor people are being dishoused while whatever reserved for “Housing to the Dishoused” is being de-reserved and being diverted to non-justifiable purpose & to the elites, may it be for a judges cooperative or a shopping mall.

Including Ganpat Patil Nagar, all slums have applied for Rajiv Awas Yojana & are ready to take up self-development with 2009 as the cutoff date for RAY, as is being expected in Delhi. As regards to Adarsh Nagar and Indira Nagar, a very elaborate dialogue with the Assistant Commissioner, Mumbai, Eastward  Mr. Kishore Gandhi brought out that there was no map or plan prepared neither for required naala building nor of demolition. During the joint site visit by the Jr. Engineers and one representative on June 1st, it came out that not more than 4-8 houses were obstructing drainage and yet Jr. Engineer was adamant on demolition. All this indicates that the real purpose in each slum demolition seems to be not drainage or natural conservation but land grab.

Ghar Bachao- Ghar Banao Andolan, NAPM demands from both the State Govt. of Maharashtra and Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai that:

1.      Stop eviction of poor communities, including Ganpat Patil Nagar.

2.      Enquire into the Mangroves protection & encroachment in the framework of the judgments.

3.      Implement RAY with the funds and facilitation beginning with the pilot project proposed for Mandala community, Mankhurd.

GBGB, NAPM appeals to all sensitive supporters to write to the Municipal Commissioner, Shri Sitaram Kunte & C.M. of Maharashtrato stop brutal demolition today and not to make the poor shelterless, which is impingement to their right to life and not to commit atrocities against dalits in GP nagar and other communities.

Act before it’s late….

Shri Prithviraj Chavan,Chief Minister,

Government of Maharashtra,

Mantrayala, Mumbai

Ph: 022-23634950

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

ashish.valsa@gmail.com

Sitaram Kunte, IASMunicipal Commissioner

Office Address:

Municipal Commissioner

Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai

Municipal Head Office

Mahapalika Marg

Mumbai-400 001. 

Tel:0091-22-22620525

e-mail:mc@mcgm.gov.in

===============================================

National Alliance of People’s Movements
National Office : 6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014
Phone : 011 26241167 / 24354737 Mobile : 09818905316
Web : www.napm-india.org

Twitter : @napmindia

 

Mumbai – Why this Hypocrisy? #slumdemolitions


 

The demolitions in Ali talao, Kharodi, Malvani. Malad W. P north ward

The background

The informal settlement with about 300 households gets its name from Ali talao (a pond) situated next to the basti. Ali talao basti has been in existence for more than 6 years now. Epitome of how any post-2005 basti will be like; it has people from all corners of the country, Tamils, UP walas, Bihars, Marathis and other migrants who flock to the city in a bid to survive our country’s rural deprivation. Situated in one of the most underdeveloped wards of Mumbai– P north; it was only recently that the settlement obtained some sort of services in the form of electricity. But compared to the rosy picture painted of Mumbai, and its imminent World-classness, this settlement was still without water and other basic services. The settlement stood on public land (NDZ) as per the 1991 Development Plan (DP), and has been now demolished 6 times in its short span of six years, and once it was burned, allegedly by the authorities themselves.

The demolition and the current crisis

There were no demolition notices, only threat orders and summoning from the police station thus raising apprehension of an impending demolition. Kharodi Ali talao was razed – again – on 20th May 2013. With about 1000 souls living in open tents, Ali talao now looks like refugee camp. The demolitions violated many principles as laid out in the UN Principles and Guidelines on Evictions and Displacement. (http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Housing/Pages/ForcedEvictions.aspx). They now are under constant threat from the police who have put barricades around the site and are warning them from reoccupying the land. The families- like in the earlier instances- were not ready to move from the demolition site. To counter this, yesterday morning, the police rounded up more than 100 people (including children) from the settlement and held them hostage in the police station till late night- threatening with violence and adverse consequences if they do not vacate their demolished homes. In the night, 19 people were officially arrested and detained for the night and were produced in the court today morning; the arrested included 13 women. Some now have been released on a hefty bail of Rs 10,000, and 4 women belonging to the minority community face being jailed as they do not have such a large sum to pay-off. Perfect example of how our law and order system is employed to punish and incarcerate the poorest of the poor struggling to make their ends meet.

The Existing Land Use (ELU) survey and the ‘cleansed’ Development Plan (2014-34)

Ali talao residents in the last couple of months have given countless letters to the BMC to include them in the Development Plan revision process. They were happy that their settlement was mapped on the Existing Land Use (ELU) survey, which they considered as the first step to legalization! But unfortunately, the state is now on a demolition drive as if to correct the ELU where some informal settlements were mapped. It seems that rather than being obliged to offer a solution to the marginalized communities mapped in the ELU survey, it is using the same ELU to locate and demolish them using the draconian 1995 January cut-off date. This method of cleansing and planning is detrimental to this city, when about 25 lakh or about 20% of the city lives in informal settlements that have emerged after 1995. And we know that it impossible to rid the city of its 20% citizenry. But then we all are astonished on why some communities are selected and erased of the planning process.

102_6394.JPG

By- Aravind Unni, YUVA,

 

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.

 

Demolition of illegal Mumbai flats: Why hit the innocent?


by  Apr 26, 2013, Firstpost

 

There is this often narrated anecdote, surely apocryphal, where a mischievous student’s parent tells the teacher that the boy is sensitive. If he errs it would do if the next student is slapped and his son would get the message. That was, of course, before corporal punishment was outlawed.

To expect such hints to be taken by people who occupy illegal structures in Mumbai or in any city is absurd. It applies well to the move of the Mumbai’s civic body to demolish 140 apartments on 35 floors across seven apartment buildings in Worli. It was not a spontaneous action from the civic body, it was ordained by the Supreme Court.

Building collapse in Mumbra. PTI

Building collapse in Mumbra. PTI

The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) has now made the headlines by the simple fact of speaking about how it has drawn a logistic and supervisory strategy to do so in three months, as The Times of India reported on Thursday. It mentioned, how, rightly, the residents were unnerved. One would be surprised if they were not.

The demolition plan is terrible news mostly since it is an entirely wrong way to go about the business of illegal constructions, which of course, are rife in the city. Simply because the Supreme Court ordered it for violations of civic laws also does not necessarily make it right. There are many more which have deviated from the rules.

The civic body, in the cloud of the dust raised by the collapse the Mumbra building which took 74 lives, has but to act on the apex court’s order which bars the residents from seeking regularisation of the illegalities. It naturally leaves them with no option but to take recourse to a review petition.

By making a virtue out of the order, talking about new techniques without disclosing the details as to how the flats would be brought down, and saying that about Rs 1.5 crore would be spent towards complying, MCGM simply cannot escape its responsibility in having allowed such nonchalant law-breaking.

What about the shamble in which the residents of other apartments would have to live in, during the demolition? It is assumed that they or the worth of their property does not matter at all. The collateral damage to them is hard to imagine.

Not bringing the unauthorised apartments down would be contempt of court, but allowing them to have come up in the first place itself requires a judicial enquiry which can and should hold the process and the participants in it guilty as well. We have hardly heard anything much about those who perpetrate such frauds, of being held accountable.

Had the Supreme Court only asked the MCGM to bring before it all the cases of violations and then their regularisation, say during the past one decade, it would have helped bare the unbelievable extent of the mischief played by the real estate interests and civic officials in cahoots. Those interests include politicians.

There are likely to be more illegal buildings or parts of buildings than there are those among them which should have attracted the demolition crews of the civic body. The very fact that they did not is itself a testimonial admission of the civic body’s culpability. Except, of course, we don’t know which are illegal and which not; even the buyers did not.

This does not at all mean that enforcement of law has to be only selective in the sense the builders who come up with the grand designs to cheat and then, with ever-eager willingness of the civic officials, often at the behest of politicians who urge everyone to wink at the deviations, can go scot free.

Mumbai’s civic body and its counterparts in other cities have avoided universally applying the building code—from floor space index to eligibility of a site to host the structure, including the structural quality, explaining the violations if—only if—exposed and act seemingly responsibly thereafter, up to a point before resuming their mischief. It is a lot cheaper to do a job honestly and efficiently than cope with consequences.

This common sense approach abundantly useful to ensure reliability of a civic body is missing in their administrative culture across cities. Because adhering to the proper ways would lead to huge losses by way of illegal incomes. It is as if the citizen is not at all a stakeholder. Those who stick to their statutory duties are often dismissed as cranks, as GR Khairnar was.

Had Khairnar only done his job without running at the mouth, and grabbing headlines, he perhaps would have been better off. But had he not, looking at the flip side, he would have been smothered by the corrupt in the system. The system that protects wrongdoing is much more competent than the other citizen-centric work as per law.

It cannot be anyone’s case that Mumbai or for that matter any city’s illegal structures, from lean-tos on sidewalks to slum colonies to elegant multi-storeyed apartments, should be allowed. Well-performing cities ought not to allow them to even emerge, leave alone mushroom. If they do, there are undermining their own stated purpose.

They are allowed to mushroom and then, amid outcries—often maybe because the right bribe was not paid—make the innocent buyer almost invariably the casualty. Even the slums that crop up hither and yon with near impunity from the civic demolition squads have been blessed by politicians and as the recent case of an entire corrupt police station lining up for bribes showed, everyone is on the make.

Then why leave the victim thrashing about after being targeted by the real estate industry which not only makes housing unaffordable but also runs a racket hand in glove with those who ought not to have allowed it in the first place. If this Worli pattern becomes the chosen way, large chunks of Mumbai residents would be on the streets sans a shelter even as the jails remain empty.

 

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

 

Gujarat- Demolition drive horror: one dies as 5 people set themselves on fire


PTI : Rajkot, Thu Apr 04 2013, 

Self-immolation

Five persons, including three women, today set themselves ablaze in Rajkot Municipal Corporation office to protest the civic body’s alleged demolition drive, police said.

The five, identified as Rekha, Asha, Vasumati, Bharat and Girish from Chhotu Nagar area near Raiya Dhar of the city, today poured kerosene and set themselves on fire in RMC’s central zone office, police said.

They were rushed to Rajkot civil hospital where condition of two of them was stated to be critical.

When contacted, Mayor Janak Kotak said that RMC has nothing to do with the incident as the civic body had no plan to carry out demolition in the area.

The five might have had a dispute with a member of their society because of which they took the extreme step, Kotak said.

The RMC has decided to initiate a probe in the incident and appropriate action would be taken against those found guilty, he added.

He extended all possible support to the victims and said they would be shifted to private hospital soon

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?

 

Urgent Appeal : Condemn Continued Detention in Police Custody even after Granting Bail


English: Medha Patkar in Sasthamkotta

English: Medha Patkar in Sasthamkotta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Condemn Continued Detention in Police Custody even after Granting Bail of Residents of Sion Koliwada since 31st May

Write to Chief Minister Demand Immediate Release and Justice for the Fisherfolk and Original Dwellers of the Land

Mumbai, June 9th 2012: On May 31st, 25 (24 women and one man) residents of Sion Koliwada including activists Jameel Bhai and Madhuri Shivkar of Ghar Bachao and Ghar Banao Andolan were arrested while resisting the illegal demolition of their homes by the BMC in collusion with Builders. As we have reported in past these demolitions are illegal and fraught with fraud in the name of the redevelopment. The arrests and illegality have been reported widely in the mainstream dailies but even then the threat of demolitions continues and the Police has helped proactively and tried to break the morales of the movement. These dwellings are of the original inhabitants of Mumbai, Koliwada – fishing communities living in these houses for nearly seven decades now. See the story in the Hindu http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3506205.ece

Yesterday, those in jail were granted bail in the afternoon itself but then a senior advocate on behalf of th Builder in collusion with the police intervened and then demanded extsnion of their police custody. They interevened and delayed the proceeedings. Finally, the activists were granted bail after the dharna by the Basti Residents outside the court. However, by then police officials made sure that it is too late for the bail orders to reach to the jail. It is extremely unfortunate and condemnable. It further exposes and reconfirms the nexus between the BMC, Builder and the police.

It is shocking to note that the police has not yet registered cases filed by the people over the past few days as FIRs, ever since the eviction drive began. Moreover, despite the people pointing out specifically as to how certain police officials / personnel are siding with the builders and have demanded suspension of such officers, no action has been taken in this regard. The only ‘assurance’ that the police has given so far is to protect the municipal officials who may face any ‘harm’, during the demolition process. We express our deep disdain towards this approach of the State and seek to challenge the illegal arrests and detentions being made by the police for questioning the unlawful demolitions.

Please do condemn the atrocities against the original inhabitants of Mumbai.

Do Fax your letters ofprotest to the Chief Minister and Home Minister, demanding them to:

  • Immediately release arrested activists unconditionally and stop harassing the residents of the Si Koliwada

  • Halt demolitions in the basti of Sio Koliwada in the name of slum redevelopment.

  • Suspend the police officials, especially male police, who have used unjust force against the people and have abused the women and men in the name of ‘protesting the BMC officials’.

  • Lodge FIRs on the basis of complaints filed at various levels by Medha Patkar and others and initiate action against the erring officials and the builder lobby.

Shri Prithviraj Chavan, Chief Minister

Fax: +91-22-22029214

E-mail: chiefminister@maharashtra.gov.in

Shri R.R. Patil, Home Minister

Fax: 91 22 22027174 / 22 22029742

E-mail: Min_Home@maharashtra.gov.in

For details and update call: Madhuri Variyath 0982061917 / Madhuresh 9818905316

National Alliance of People’s Movements

 

National Office : 29-30, A Wing, First Floor, Haji Habib Building, Naigaon Cross Road Dadar (E), Mumbai – 400 014. Phone – 022 2415 0529 | 9969363065;

 

Delhi Office : 6/6 Jangpura B, New Delhi – 110 014 . Phone : 011 2437 4535 | 9818905316

email : napmindia@gmail.com | Web : www.napm-india.org

 

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