STAFF REPORTER, The Hindu, April3, 2013
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 (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- Housing Minister Ajay Maken asks CM to investigate Golibar scam; demolitions instead (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- Mumbai- Medha Patkar and 20 arrested @ Golibar: Demand Justice (kractivist.wordpress.com)