Skip to main content

'Don't have solution to rehabilitate 30,000 "living" in Mumbai's toxic hell, Mahul'

By Our Representative
The impression has gone strong: The Government of Maharashtra’s housing minister has "denied" 30,000 lives’ freedom from the #Mumbai's toxic hell, Mahul. Talking with the residents of Mahul, Prakash Mehta, Maharashtra’s Cabinet minister for housing, declared, “I don’t have a solution for the rehabilitation of Mahul residents; the ‘government’ will take care of it.”
Mehta was addressing the residents on phone on Thursday, which happened to be the fifth day of the Jeevan Bachao Andolan, organized by the civil society organization, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan (GBGBA).
Thousands of citizens who were ‘rehabilitated’ to Mahul, a highly polluted area declared unfit for human habitation by two courts after the government demolished their homes at the Tansa Pipeline stretch last year, initiated the Jeevan Bachao Andolan on October 28, 2018. On the sixth day, they are yet to get any positive response to their grievances from the government or any minister.
Protesting at Ambedkar Nagar, Vidyavihar (East), residents of Mahul waited till 5 pm on Thursday to get an appointment from Housing Minister Prakash Mehta. The minister was intimated a day before about their plan to occupy the compound in front of his office, in case he failed to listen. Finally, they occupied his office.
Hundreds of affected women and children waited to meet the minister. Mehta’s BJP workers who were present in the office at the time tried to escape from the back door of the occupied office. However, protesters, sitting outside the office five hours, caught them and gheraoed them until they agreed to call the minister.
Mehta finally spoke to the residents on a mobile phone of one of the local BJP workers, who were trying to run away. The conversation between him and GBGBA’s representative continued for 10 minutes. All that the housing minister had to say to people was that he couldn't do anything to save 30,000 lives. The gathering decided to continue the protest.
Meanwhile, a pollution-affected six-year-old girl sitting at the protest had a mild paralytic attack. However, Mahul residents say, they have no other option than taking their sick children to the protest site and demanding justice from the insensitive government.
Mahul, located in Trombay, is one of the most polluted areas of Mumbai. It has been rightly called the ‘Toxic hell of Mumbai’, as it has seen more than 100 deaths due to the pollution in last one-and-a-half years. Many people reportedly suffer from diseases like cancer and tuberculosis here. Skin allergy is common in every household. They remain under constant threat of explosion in chemical factories.
Around 30,000 citizens had been moved from Tansa to Mahul when a pipeline was to be constructed in the region in 2017, and since the very beginning, these citizens had been opposing their site of rehabilitation. They had been appealing to the government for a better place without the toxic level of pollution of Mahul.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) declared Mahul to be an ‘inhabitable’ place in 2015, yet the Maharashtra government decided rehabilitate 30,000 people here, one reason why they call the rehabilitation a ‘planned genocide of the urban poor.’
Reports from various NGO as well as from the KEM hospital have proved that Mahul is critically polluted and its pollution has led to the death of over 100 residents in the last two years. Also, a large number of residents are suffering from various health issues.
In August this year, the Bombay High Court ordered the Government of Maharashtra to either relocate the Tansa Pipeline affected citizens to a better place or compensate them enough so as to enable them to rent a house in Mumbai. However, the government does not seem keen to act. According to the directions of the Bombay High Court, the government was supposed to decide on one of the two options suggested before October 1. But the affected citizens of Mahul have not received any decision or intimation from the government.
The government says that it does not have the place to rehabilitate Mahul residents. However, information received from RTI suggests that there are 70,000 empty flats available in the city, those which are especially built for rehabilitation.
The government, meanwhile, is split into two fractions regarding Mahul. While the BJP maintains an adamant stance, its coalition partner Shiv Sena says it wants to help.
On the third day of protest, the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) promised a proposal after Mahul residents had talks with Adityaa Thackeray, Yuva Sena President (Shiv Sena youth wing). However, Uday Samant, Shiv Sena MLA and President of MHADA, promised tenements to just about 300 out of the 5,500 affected families.

Comments

TRENDING

Allow international human rights observers, media to access Kashmir: US lawmakers

Counterview Desk
In a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, two members of the American Congress, Pramila Jayapal and James McGovern, raising "significant concerns" about what they call "humanitarian and human rights crisis in Jammu & Kashmir”, quoting "credible reports" from journalists and advocates on the ground" have said that "the Indian government has detained thousands of people with no recourse, imposed de facto curfews on residents' and cut off internet and telephone access in the region.”

Rescind Gates Foundation award to Modi, demand three Nobel Peace laureates

Counterview Desk
In a major boost to those opposing the award to the Gates Foundation’s proposed to be awarded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, three Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Mairead Maguire (1976), Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman (2011) and Shirin Ebadi (2003), have in an open letter called upon Milinda and Bill Gates to withdraw their decision, stating Modi is allegedly involved in human rights violations.

Now clampdown on rally, arrest of pro-freedom activists in Pak-occupied Kashmir

Counterview Desk
In a fresh evidence, international human rights organizations are not just confining their attention on the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), whose special status was taken away by the Government of India in early August, leading to an unprecedented clampdown on the region. They have simultaneously begun focusing on the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), where the situation is said to be worsening.
Thus, the International Human Rights Council ((IHRC) Hong Kong (HK), a top human rights organisation, said to be working towards to the promotion peace, equality, fundamental rights and social justice “as enunciated in the UN Human Rights Charter and other instruments of human rights”, has noted now a new wave of independence movement has struck PoK.  With offices in US, UK, Switzerland and Hong Kong, and having Kirity Roy and Lenin Raghuvanshi as IHRC office bearers from India, in a statement, it has claimed that on September 7 one of the biggest pro-Independenc…

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are about 180 units in in the to…

Bullet train impact report Japan agency property: Govt of India tells Gujarat NGO

The National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) has told Gujarat-based environmental organization, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) that the detailed report of Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) representatives on their visit to Gujarat and Maharashtra assess the impact of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project on farmers is not its property, but that of JICA.

NHSRCL letter to PSS, signed by activists Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant and Swati Desai, comes following the latter’s request to it on June 10 for the report. PSS was one of the NGOs that represented JICA on the project, saying, if implemented, it would adversely impact farmers, even as pointing towards the fact that the project itself is unviable and Indian Railways needs to invest, instead, more on upgrading the present railway infrastructure.
Following the NHSRCL reply, PSS has shot a second letter to JICA, insisting that the latter should share a copy of the report, even as providing details of the …

Karma tribal festival an occasional to campaign for tribal rights: IPMSDL

By Our Representative
The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL), in a solidarity statement has suggested that the current Karam festival of Central India -- which seeks to promote sisterhood, friendship, cultural unity, and closer link to nature -- should be the occasion to campaign against alleged efforts to violently drive away forest dwelling communities from their forest homes.
"Millions are threatened to lose lands and livelihood under the implementation of Forest Rights Act (FRA) of 2006", the statement States, adding, "As corporate interests continues to enter tribal territories and extract profit from its natural resources, indigenous people are pushed to further marginalization and discrimination."
Asserting that indigenous movement in India "remains steadfast in keeping their culture, deeply linked to their lands alive by carrying out their heritage and struggles", IPMSDL, even as extending "…

US Air Force expert smells regional security threat following Chandrayaan mission

Counterview Desk
A United States Air Force expert, writing on India’s Chandrayaan -2 mission, has expressed the apprehension that Indian moon probe’s “failure” won’t stop an Asian space race that “threatens regional security.” Affiliated with the US Air Force School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, Wendy Whitman Cobb, who is Professor of Strategy and Security Studies, believes like other space powers, India may be “seeking to improve its technology”, but advances can “also bring greater security concerns.”
Currently, admits Cobb, “These efforts have been primarily civilian and peaceful in nature.” However, India’s turn toward the military uses of space, so much so that lately it has been developing its own military satellites providing services such as remote sensing, tracking and communications “with greater frequency” has begun to “concern” the neighbours.
In her disclosure statement to an article published in the e-journal “The Conversation” Cobb, however, states that whatever…

Historic Chikhalda, temples, mosques submerged, activists 'rescue' Gandhi idol

By Medha Patkar
The first farmer of Asia was born in Chikhalda, if one is to believe archaeological researchers. A historic village, 50 percent of its population is of Hindus and 50 percent of Muslims, yet it has always remained peaceful. Chikhalda has struggled to save water, land and people along Narmada river.

South Gujarat wastewater carrying pipeline damaged, 'harming' farmlands

By Our Representative
The pipeline carrying industrial wastewater to the Gulf of Khambhat from Jhagadia industrial estate in Bharuch district has been found to have damaged for the eighth time over the last one and a half months. The crack, says a local environmental organisation, has occurred at Hansot, endangering agricultural farms.