Minister agrees to issue notification for temporary relocation within four days
Mumbai: Months after protesting for a safe living space, around 5,500 families in Mahul are likely to be temporarily shifted to houses originally built for families affected by airport expansion, in Kurla.
On Sunday, hundreds of residents formed a one-km-long human chain at Ghatkopar (East) as a mark of protest against the toxic environment they are living. Social activist Medha Patkar participated in the agitation organised by Mahul Sangharsh Prakalpgrast Samiti.
Ms. Patkar along with representatives of the samiti held a meeting with Housing Minister Prakash Mehta on Monday. The minister in-principle agreed to shift the families to Kurla on temporary basis and later to rehabilitate them in-situ — from the areas where they have been relocated.
“Our demand was thousands of vacant flats in Kurla be given to us. The minister agreed to it and promised us to issue the official notification within four days,” Bilal Khan of the samiti said.
Mr. Khan however said residents, who have been protesting in front of Somaiya College in Vidyavihar for the last 16 days, will not move until the official notification is issued. Mr. Mehta said the government notification will be issued within four days, unless there is a technical problem in the proposal. “We have no problem in shifting the people of Mahul to Kurla where houses are lying vacant,” he said. Anita Dhole, a Mahul resident, said, “Our protest has entered 16th day, and finally, our demand was accepted.”
These families in Mahul, Chembur, are suffering from excessive air and water pollution due to the presence of oil refineries and a chemical fertiliser plant in the area. These families were rehabilitated to Mahul from Andheri, Kurla, and Ghatkopar after being displaced for various infrastructure projects over the years.