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

Whistle-blowing IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife suspects foul play after truck hits her car

By Nachiketa Desai*
Paranoia has seized Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt, after the car she was driving was rammed in broad day light. According to Shweta Bhatt, it was beacon light-flashing truck without registration number plate. The incident took place on January 7, just a day ahead of the Gujarat High Court was scheduled to take up the bail application of Sanjiv Bhatt, arrested last year for "involvement" in a 23-year-old case.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

Morari Bapu, who has installed new statues of Ram, Laxman, Hanuman without weapons

By Sandeep Pandey*
A saint is one who can give some inner peace by his/her voice. This will happen only when s(he) will talk about love and harmony. Morari Bapu is one saint who has been conveying the message of love, peace, harmony, fraternity, etc. Today when a number of saffron clad figures with aggressive posture, spewing venom, fanning hatred to polarise voters are at the forefront of politics of Hindutva it is a relief to see Morari Bapu in a different mould.

99% MGNREGA funds "exhausted", Govt of India makes no additional sanctions: Study

Counterview Desk
A letter, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and prepared by senior activists led by Aruna Roy on behalf of the Peoples’ Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG), and signed, among others, by 80 members of Parliament, has regretted that, despite repeated public statements by his government promising employment and job creation that will boost the country’s growth, the country’s only employment guarantee programme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), “is being systematically undermined.”

Nuclear reactors sought from French giant "not safe": Letter to Modi on Jaitapur project

Counterview Desk
Amidst reports that the French nuclear giant EDF has submitted a “techno-commercial offer” for the world’s largest nuclear power park proposed in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur nuclear power park in Jaitapur on the Maharashtra coast, Dr EAS Sarma, India’s former Union Secretary in the Minister of Power, and an eminent voice in the civil society, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also heads Department of Atomic Energy (DAE),  protesting the move.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Kerala land being acquired using "draconian, anti-people" National Highway Act, 1956

Counterview Desk
In a letter Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan, senior activists and politicians have insisted that the Kerala government should not agree to "inhuman displacement and buid-operate-transfer (BOT) Toll system", imposed by the Government of India and the National Highway Authority of India, for widening the current National Highway (NH) 66.

Kaiga NPP expansion: Karnataka to get just 400 MW, but lose thick forest, fresh water

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to the chairman and members of the Atomic energy Commission (AEC) on the issue of Kaiga nuclear power plant (NPP) expansion plan in Karnataka, Shankar Sharma, well-known power policy analyst, has argued that that in case of expansion, the site will face “exponential increase in radiation emission risks”, underlining, “Nuclear safety experts identify such a scenario as enhanced risk for NPPs with multiple reactors and shared technical facilities."
Sharma says the questions that also be asked whether Karnataka should lose more than 54 hectares of thick forests and about 152,304 cubic meters of fresh water per day from Kali river for a meager benefit of 400 MW from the Kaiga NPP, for which “there are many benign alternative options available for the state at much lower overall costs to the state.”
Text of the letter: This has reference to the public hearing under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Rule 2006 of Ministry of Environment, Fore…

Uttarakhand High Court: Biodiversity boards can impose fees on Ramdev's Divya Pharmacy

By Mridhu Tandon
In a significant decision, the Uttarakhand High Court on December 21, 2018 has dismissed the writ petition filed by Divya Pharmacy founded by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan, challenging the demand of the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) imposing fees under the provisions of the Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS).

Modi becoming Prime Minister now appears to be an "accident" to the people of India

By Sandeep Pandey*
Anupam Kher's film 'Accidental Prime Minister' has targeted Dr Manmohan Singh who served for two terms and may be again acceptable for the job if his party regains power. But his tormentor Narendra Modi seems to be out of breath even before his first term is over. Disillusionment with him is so widespread and deep that people of India may not bear with him for another term. As the general elections approach again the difference between the two needs to be examined.