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

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Don't agree on domestic subsidies, ensure food security at WTO meet: Farmer leaders

Counterview Desk  The Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (ICCFM), a top network of farmers’ organizations in India, in a letter to Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, has asked him to “safeguard food security and sovereignty, even as ensuring peasants' rights" at the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO MC 13), to take place from 26 to 29 February 2024 in Abu Dhabi.

Sharp 61-85% fall in Tech startup funding in India's top 'business-friendly' States

By Rajiv Shah Funding in Tech startups in top business-friendly Indian states has witnessed a major fall, a data intelligence platform for private market research has said in a series of reports it has released this month. Analysing Tech startup data of Telangana, Maharashtra, Delhi NCR, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, Tracxn Technologies Ltd , the Bengaluru-based research firm, finds that except for Kerala, funding witnessed a fall of anywhere between 61% and 85%.

Students, lawyers, professors detained in Delhi for demonstrating in support of farmers

By Our Representative  About 25 protestors, belonging to the civil rights network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), a coalition of over 40 organisations, were detained at Jantar Mantar for holding a demonstration in support of the farmers' stir on Friday. Those detained included students, lawyers and professors, including Prof Nandita Narain and Prof N Sachin. 

Maize, bajra, jute, banana cultivation banned off West Bengal border: Plea to NHRC

Counterview Desk  West Bengal-based human rights defender Kirity Roy, who is secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Manch, and is national convenor of the Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity, in a representation to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission, second within few days, has bought to light one more case of trespassing and destruction of a fertile banana plantation by BSF personnel along the Indo-Bangladesh border, stating, despite a written complaint to the police has taken "no initiative".

Solar energy funding dips 9% in 2023; 2024 'kicks off' with US$1 billion investment

By Lakshmitha Raj*  Solar energy tech companies have already secured slightly over US$1 billion in funding in 2024 (till Feb 7, 2024) after total funding into Solar Energy companies in India fell 9% to US$1.55B in 2023 from US$1.7B in 2022. A total of 39 $100M+ rounds have been closed till date, with Delhi leading the city-wise funding, followed by Gurugram and Mumbai.

India second best place to invest, next to UAE, yet there is 'lacks support' for IT services

By Sreevas Sahasranamam, Aileen Ionescu-Somers*  The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the best place in the world to start a new business, according to the latest annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey. The Arab nation is number one for the third year in a row thanks to a big push by the government into cutting-edge technology in its efforts to diversify away from oil.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

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".

Mahanadi delta: Aggressive construction in flood plains, reduced fish stock, pollution

By Sudhansu R Das  Frequent natural calamities, unemployment, low farmers’ income, increase in crime rate and lack of quality human resources to strike a balance between growth and environment etc. continue to haunt the state. The state should delve into the root causes of poverty, unemployment and natural calamities.