Skip to main content

Mahul residents refuse to return to Mumbai's "toxic hell", spend night on railway station

Counterview Desk
Even as Mahul residents of Mumbai slept without shelter on a cold windy night on the 51st day of protest against the highly polluted Mahul, where they were allegedly dumped on being uprooted because of a pipeline project, the city's civil rights organ, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan (GBGBA), which is leading the protest, claimed, the residents have declared they will not leave the Azad Maidan untill the government implements the High Court’s order to rehabilitate them at a safe place.
It regretted, "The Chief Minister has denied the assurances given by the ministers of his own government."

A GBGBA statement:

Last night, people, who were protesting at Azad Maidan against their failed rehabilitation at #MumbaisToxicHell Mahul, were forced by the police to leave the ground. As there was no substitute, Mahul residents had to be spent the night at platform No 18 of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. Since thousands of people were asked to adjust in less space on that platform, the citizens had to face many difficulties while staying there.
"There was less space on platform 18, people were sent to platforms 10 and 11. We had the women with newborn babies and children with us. Many people fell sick in the cold night, and also suddenly a woman started experiencing chest pain. Water in the bathroom was provided only for half an hour. Women had to suffer a lot, but still Chief Minister has no sympathy for us " , said an agitated protester Puja Pandit.
Today, theJeevan Bachao Andolan completed 51 days. The Bombay High Court on August 8, 2018, had directed that the government should shift the Tansa Pipeline Project affected people from ‘critically’ polluted Mahul to a safe place. It was also clarified in the interim report given by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay following the order of the High Court that staying in Mahul is risky.
According to that report, the air in Mahul flows in the direction of the rehabilitation site for most of the time of the day carrying smoke coming from refineries with it. It was also stated in this report that due to the wrong planning of the buildings constructed for rehabilitation, the homes in these buildings do not get enough sunlight and airflow. This causes spread of many diseases and pandemics as well.
Also, Environment Minister of Maharashtra, Ramdas Kadam, wrote to the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis that Mahul was not suitable for human inhibition and its residents should be taken out of that area as soon as possible. Also, In December 2015, Mahul had been declared a highly polluted area by National Green Tribunal, which also stated that there is danger to the health of the people living there.
After the Jeevan Bachao Andolan initiated by the of the people of Mahul, there was some positive outcome. On the third day of the movement, MHADA announced that 350 houses would be provided to Mahul residents. On the next day, after the gherao of the Housing Minister Prakash Mehta's house, he agreed to the meeting with the Mahul Residents.
In that meeting he expressed the hope that 5,500 houses of Kurla HDIL can be alloted to the residents of Mahul and promised that he will discuss this proposal with the Chief Minister. The Chief Minister denounced the deep inspection by the reputed institutions and the assurances given by the ministers and the authorities of the government.
Since the pollution in Mahul has claimed 150 lives so far, the silence of the CM on this issue is a matter of shame. Police stopped the nearly 7000 people from going to the Mantralaya to demand safe housing, so they decided to move their march at Azad Maidan. While 30,000 people are in danger, the Chief Minister spent the entire day inaugurating and speaking in various events.
Even when he was in Mumbai, the Chief Minister did not give time to meet the people and sent a message that he was not in Mumbai. He showed presence near the Gateway of India, close to Azad Maidan on December 15, but he did not come to meet the people in trouble in his state.
Meanwhile, Bhalchandra Mungekar, former Rajya Sabha MP from Congress and former Vice Chancellor of Mumbai University and Health Minister of Delhi Government, Satyendra Jain also visited the agitation site to extend the solidarity to the Mahul Residents. Similarly, many progressive organizations in Mumbai, the labor organization, Women's Organization, PUCL participated in the protest and showed support. Also, citizens of all the slum settlements from Mankhurd to Malad showed their support to the movement.
Some sympathetic eminent citizens also wrote to the Chief Minister asking him the safe housing to Mahul residents. The protestors are determined to continue their agitation in Azad Maidan till their issue gets resolved.

Comments

TRENDING

Young environmentalist's arrest 'sinister', even parents not told of her whereabouts

By Our Representative  The Coalition for Environmental Justice in India (CEJI), a civil society network, has said that it is “highly disturbing” that Disha Ravi, a young woman climate activist from Bengaluru was “picked up” in what is referred to as a “closely guarded operation” of the Delhi police. Disha, 21, has been remanded to police custody for five days after she was taken from Bengaluru to Delhi.

Mukesh Ambani's earnings during Covid 'can lift' 40% informal workers out of poverty

By Dr Gian Singh*  The Inequality Virus Report released by Oxfam, a non-profit organization, on January 25, 2021 on the growing inequalities in different parts of the world, sheds light on the growing economic, educational, healthcare and gender inequalities in India. The report has revealed that the wealth of billionaires has increased by 35 per cent during the lockdown period in the country.

US forensic revelation enough evidence to release Sudha Bharadwaj, others: Civicus

Counterview Desk  Civicus, a Johannesburg-based global alliance of civil society organisations and activists claiming to have presence in 175 countries with 9,000 members and working for strengthening citizen action, has sought immediate release of Sudha Bharadwaj, arrested in 2018 under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

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.

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”

Evolution of Sardar Patel's understanding of those 'involved' in Gandhi's assassination

By Shamsul Islam*  As the world mourns the 73rd anniversary of MK Gandhi's assassination by Hindutva terrorists on January 30, 1948, RSS, the most prominent flag-bearer of Hindutva politics, whose cadres rule India today, is found reacting angrily to the reality – that the criminals who assassinated Gandhiji were not only part of the ideological world-view of Hindu Mahasabha (led by VD Savarkar) and RSS brand of Hindu nationalism but were also connected with these. 

No Election Commission safeguard against electromagnetic hacking of EVM: Study

Counterview Desk  Releasing a new study simultaneously in Chennai and Kolkata in view of the forthcoming elections in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, the Citizens’ Commission on Elections (CCE) – a civil society initiative – has regretted “lack of integrity of EVM voting”, pointing out, the Election Commission of India (ECI) does not appear to safeguard against the possibilities of ‘side-channel attacks’, i.e, hacking electronic devices through electromagnetic and other methods.

20% of FIRs against journalists in 2020 alone, targeted attacks in 2021 'too many to count'

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls “alarming rise in state repression and clampdown on news outlets and journalists” that “expose” the anti-people nature of the establishment, India's top civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has demanded “immediate release of arrested journalists, withdrawal of arbitrary charges and protection of media persons facing threats.”

'Viability' of agricultural cooperatives vs govt proposed pro-corporate economic model

Dr Gian Singh* The farmer struggle started from Punjab against the promulgation of three agricultural ordinances by the Union government in June 2020 and the enactment of three bills by Parliament in September 2020 to replace these ordinances is unique in many respects. There is no other example of such a peaceful and democratic farmer struggle.

Whither right to food? Social security scheme allocation for woman, child 'reduced'

Counterview Desk Pointing out that women and children have been ignored in the Union Budget 2021-22, the advocacy group Right to Food Campaign (RtFC) has said that the Government of India should have taken into account the fact that even after the lockdown was lifted, distress among marginalized communities continues, with people having lower incomes and reduced food consumption.