3rd day of the Indefinite Fast by Medha Patkar at Golibar, Mumbai Against Corrupt Buildershahi and Continuing Illegal Demolitions
Incidents of Building Collapse Like Mumbra are Results of Corporate – Builder – Bureaucrat Nexus
April 4, Mumbai : “Incidents like Mumbra building collapse are result of Mumbai’s infamous builder-politician-bureaucrat which allows the illegality and construction of these kinds of structure. Adarsh Housing Society is another such glaring illegality which even after Union government’s direction stands tall on Mumbai’s coast. Government is brazenly violating all norms and putting life of people at risk. There is complete lawlessness, law is violated for rich, and in the name of implementation of laws legal bastis of poor in Golibar, Chandivali, Koliwada and others in Mumbai are demolished by Municipal Corporation. In Golibar, even when Union Minister Ajay Maken, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, recognised the illegality and ordered for halting demolitions, Maharashtra government demolished Ganesh Krupa Housing Society. Where is the law ? Why these homes of working class people are demolished when an enquiry is ongoing by the Principal Secretary, Housing, Government of Maharashtra. Against this injustice and complete illegality, I am forced to sit on indefinite hunger strike in less than two years at the same place in Golibar, Mumbai demanding justice,” said, Medha Patkar, leader of National Alliance of People’s Movements, to which Ghar Bachao Banao Andolan is affiliated and is leading the struggle for housing rights of basti dwellers in Mumbai.
She added that politically motivated campaigns are being run against her struggle for justice and false news is being spread by her rivals elsewhere. My non-appearance from some court cases and campaigns are used against me and the Andolan. They are done with a motive to malign the agenda of the struggle and our andolan. Our struggle against injustices will continue everywhere be it in Chennai where 2 lakh homes are to be demolished under slum redevelopment schemes, where our colleagues from NAPM and communities are fighting for their housing rights.
Golibar, the prime land of 125 acres has become a battleground for 70 + old households, women and men, who are fighting a valiant battle for the last 5 years, tooth and nail. Through Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, they have exposed the forgery and fraud in documents of Shivalik ventures, whom the community never gave consent to as ‘builders’.
Shivalik has cheated many of these 46 societies, by manipulating documents, decisions and sanctions, through its political connections. Orders against Shivalik in many criminal and civil cases have not resulted in their arrest. However, some order of 2010 is being used against the slum dwellers of Golibar, to demolish their well built houses and evict them with brutal police force.
Basti dwellers from Golibar and other sites in Mumbai are sitting everyday in relay hunger strike with Medha Patkar and also meeting different officials and Ministers during the day. It is extremely unfortunate that government is not making any effort to address their genuine grievances when the examination of the children are ongoing. It is completly inhuman that the children are forced to study and live in distress when their exams are taking place. Earlier in 2011 when the demolitions had happened at the same time, many of the children either failed or could never go back to the school. We demand that National Commission for Protection of Child Rights takes up immediate cognisance of these attrocities. Meanwhile, many people have moved National Human Rights Commission, demanding them to take immediate action too.
Our Key concerns and demands are :-
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Prerna Gaekwad, Sumit Wajale, Sandeep Yevale, Jameel Bhai
For details call : 9892727063 | 9818905316
We urge all conscientious individuals and movements to support our struggle and send letters, through e-mail to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra and the Principal Secretary, Housing, and Shri Ajay Maken asking him to ensure his directions are followed and acted upon :
Shri Prithviraj Chavan,
Government of Maharashtra,
E-mail: email@example.com ,
Shri Debashish Chakrabarty,
Principal Secretary, Housing,
Government of Maharashtra,
Sh. Ajay Maken
Union Minister of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation
Phone : 011 – 23061928 / 42 / 23063989 Fax : 23061780
email : firstname.lastname@example.org
National Alliance of People’s Movements
National Office : 6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014
Phone : 011 26241167 / 24354737 Mobile : 09818905316
Web : http://www.napm-india.org
Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/NAPMindia
Twitter : @napmindia