Skip to main content

Mumbai's 800 slumdwellers face demolition of dwellings starting May 22 to "save" mangroves, declared "reserved"

By Our Representative
Fear has gripped Bheemchhaya slumbwellers – mainly Dalits and poor – that they would become homeless after May 22, when the demolition of their 800-odd dwellings would begin, allegedly for “complying” with a 13 year old High Court order, seeking to “protect” the Mumbai's mangroves, which were mysteriously declared "reserved".
Helpless and terrified, they are trying to contact government authorities, but, says a note by the Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan (GBGBA), a Mumbai-based civil rights group, there is “nobody to listen to them.”
“Bheemchhaya residents have contacted the divisional commissioner for appeal”, says GBGBA, adding, “But the office of the divisional commissioner has refused to accept the appeal, since his office only deals with matter pertaining to land belonging got revenue department and not forest department.”
Even the court appears unable to listen to them, says the civil rights group. “The residents of Bheemchhaya have approached the High Court, but since the court is on vacation and the vacation bench is sitting on selected days, it is very rare that the matter will be heard on time”, says GBGBA.
“The Forest Minister is out of the country, and his secretaries are also on leave, so there are no chances. There is no one available in the government to hear the grievances of the slum dwellers. When everyone is on leave, why can’t slum be spared from demolition?”, it wonders.
Following a Bombay High Court order dated October 6, 2005, in the matter of Bombay Environment Action Group in the Writ Petition (lodging) No 3246 of 2004, a large number of mangrove areas in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai were notified as “protected forests” by the Maharashtra Forest Department.
Since certain activities can be allowed in a “protected forests”, like collection of forest produce etc., the Maharashtra government decided to go a little further – notified these areas as “reserved forests”, setting aside its earlier decision to call them just “protected forests”.
Situated in Kannamwar Nagar-2 in (Vikhroli East) in Mumbai, Bheemchhaya is in close proximity to the mangroves area, which is notified as reserved forest. However, claims the civil rights group, “The court in the order said that no construction will be allowed to take place in the mangrove areas after the passing of the order.”
It adds, “Bheemchhaya is in existence prior to order of the High Court was passed and it is also a protected slum as per the Maharashtra Slum Areas (Improvement Clearance & Redevelopment) 1971. A slum is treated as protected if it is in existence prior to the year 2000, and the slum dwellers possess certain documents specified by the government to prove their residence since the year 2000.”
Pointing out that slum dwellers in Bheemchhaya have all the valid documents proving their residence prior to the year 2000, GBGBA says, despite this, the Mangrove Cell of the Forest Department served notices to the residence of the Bheemchhaya in the year 2015 to prove their claims on the land where their homes are located.
“All the residence submitted their residential proofs specified under the Maharashtra Government Resolution dated May 16, 2015. This Government Resolution (GR) has specified procedure for the rehabilitation and protection of slum dwellers on government land if they possess specified documents prior to the year 2000. However, the Assistant Conservator of Mangrove Cell, rejected these claims and passed an order of demolition of their homes in Bheemchhaya”, it adds.
Worse, says GBGBA, “The Assistant Conservator passed these orders under section 53 and 54 of the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code 1966. Section 246 of MLRC provides for appeal if someone is aggrieved by the order passed under section 53 and 54. Yet, in the case of Bheemchhaya, the Assistant Conservator has not specified the appellate authority.”

Comments

TRENDING

Ganga world's second most polluted river, Modi's Varanasi tops microplastics pollution

By Rajiv Shah  Will the new report by well-known elite NGO Toxics Link create a ripple in the powerful corridors of Delhi? Titled “Quantitative analysis of microplastics along River Ganga”, forwarded to Counterview, doesn’t just say that Ganga is the second most polluted river in the world, next only to Yangtze (China). It goes ahead to do a comparison of microplastics pollution in three cities shows Varanasi – the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi – is more polluted compared to Kanpur and Haridwar.

Madhya Pradesh tops India's 145 instances of 'anti-Christian atrocities' this year

Counterview Desk  A report prepared by the Religious Liberty Commission the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI), founded in 1951 as the national alliance of evangelical Christians of the Protestant denomination, in its just-released report, “Hate and Targeted Violence against Christians in India: Half Yearly Report 2021”, has said that an analysis of 145 cases of violence it has documented against Christians, mainly by non-state actors, “stems from an environment of targeted hate.”

Pro-corporate? New GoI circular 'blatant attempt' to control Adivasi lives, livelihoods

By Hemant Das*  The Indian Community Activists Network (ICAN) condemns the anti-forest dwellers circular jointly issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and the (Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA), Government of India (GoI) on July 6. 

Demolition drive: Why aren't high-end hotels, farmhouses treated same way as Khorigaon?

By Our Representative A public hearing, sponsored by the civil rights group National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) to hear the affected citizens of Khorigaon, off Faridabad, Delhi NCR, has seen local people complaining how their houses are being demolished even as the entire area was converted into a prison through heavy police deployment.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Meaningful? Punjab govt's debt waiver offer for agricultural workers, landless farmers

By Dr Gian Singh*    On July 14, 2021, the Punjab government announced that it would hold a state level function on August 20 to waive the debt of agricultural labourers and landless farmers(pure tenants) of Punjab to the tune of Rs 590 crore. Prior to the 2017 elections, the Congress party had promised in its election manifesto and public speeches that the Punjab government would waive all the institutional and non-institutional debt of farmers and agricultural labourers of Punjab.

Why no human rights mechanism in South Asia, but other regions in world have them?

Counteview Desk A civil rights group, Peoples' Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR), has floated an online petition  titled "Governments of South Asia: Time for the Establishment of a South Asian Human Rights Mechanism", stating that South Asian states should work towards the establishment of a regional mechanism for human rights at the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) SAARC level in order to create better conditions for peace in South Asia.

How BSF, police, court turned Bangladeshi woman slave victim into accused in crime

Counterview Desk  Civil rights leader Kirity Roy has strongly objected to the manner in which the Border Security Force (BSF) , the police and the judiciary in West Bengal have treated a 35 years old Bangladeshi woman victim of human trafficking, who was subjected to sexual exploitation for 15 long years, has been declared guilty of violating the Foreigners Act, violating all human rights norms.

Covid impact on menstrual cycles? Young girls 'relapsing' back to unhygienic old-cloth rags

By Dr Sudeshna Roy*  Covid-19 pandemic has gripped the world in health and economic shock. Combating this public health crisis has diverted development resources earmarked for adolescents and the youth. India; having world’s second largest population; 1.38 crores as per UN mid-year 2020 estimation, also shelters the largest adolescents and young adult population, which at 243 million constitute 20% of the world’s 1.2 billion adolescent population.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".