Skip to main content

#MumbaiToxicHell: Rally on December 15 as Maharashtra govt "fails" to relocate residents

Counterview Desk
Mumbai's civil rights organization Ghar Bachao, Ghar Banao Andolan (GBGBA) has said that after receiving a number of false assurances of rehabilitation in a safer residential area, the residents of polluted Mahul (#MumbaisToxicHell) have decided to hold a mass rally from their protest site, which they have ‘occupied’ in Vidya Vihar, to Mantrayala on December 15, 2018.
Evicted from their 40 plus year old slums near the Tansa pipeline and allegedly dumped to die in Mumbai’s "most polluted area", GBGBA warns that if the Maharashtra government under chief minister Devendra Fadnavis fails to act as per Bombay High Court’s order and rehabilitate them, the rally would surely be held.

GBGBA statement:

The Maharashtra government has chosen to maintain silence on the issue, which involves the lives and health of 30,000 of the poor citizens of the city, who have been evicted from their 40+ year old slums near the Tansa pipeline and dumped to die in Mumbai’s most polluted area -- about which the National Green Tribunal (NGT) observed that there is a serious threat to the health of residents rehabilitated in Mahul.
The Tansa pipeline rehabilitation-affected people, who were forcefully shifted to Mahul and whose homes and whose were demolished, have been demanding relocation to safe housing, as their current location is affected by industrial, air and water pollution, which have been causing several deaths and chronic health issues.
The Bombay High Court on August 8 had directed the state government to provide alternative accommodation to the residents of Mahul. The Fadnavis Government’s failure to act on the Court’s order forced the residents of Mahul to stage a dharna, which began on October 28.
There are alternative housing available in Mumbai. As per information collected through RTIs, there are more than 1,00,000 houses generated for project affected persons (PAPs). These have been constructed by different housing agencies like Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority , Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, and Slum Rehabilitation Authority.
A total of 5,500 tenements are required to accommodate all the residents of Mahul. On November 12, 2018, in a meeting with Mahul residents, housing minister Prakash Mehta had assured the Mahul residents that his government could accommodate 5,500 families in Kurla HDIL-- a rehabilitation site.
These 18,000 houses were built for airport expansion project affected families (PAFs) but only 12,000 PAFs were affected by the airport expansion, making houses 5,500 available for PAFs from Mahul. This was admitted by Naseem Khan, MLA, and endorsed by housing minister Prakash Mehta as well.
At the meeting at Mantrayala on November 12, Mehta stated that Fadnavis too had noted that the pipeline affected would be rehabilitated in situ, and announced it to the media. But what emerged out of another meeting between Shiv Sena youth leader Aditya Thackeray and Fadnavis on the issue of Mahul on November 27, was another story.
Fadnavis claimed that he did not agree with what his own housing minister was proposing as a solution. In this meeting the chief minister refused the proposal to provide alternative housing in Kurla HDIL to all 5,500 families, and also chose to stay silent on options available at places other than Kurla. The government is treating the poor residents of Mahul like garbage, which is completely in contrast to their claim of ‘sabka saath sabka vikas’.
Meanwhile, Mahul resident Dharmendra Rathod, who was suffering from TB, passed away on Saturday. This is seventh demise during the protest which began on October 28. The abnormally high level of pollution in Mahul has been causing deaths and serious diseases like TB, asthma, cancer, heart attack, paralysis etc. while the constant risk of major accidents from the nearby industrial instill perpetual fear.
As recently as August 8 a major blast in the nearby refinery shook the entire residential area. These building lacks even basic emergency exits. In the inception interim report prepared by a team of Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, constituted on the direction of Bombay High Court, it is clearly stated that lives are at risk in the absence of emergency exits in such a potentially dangerous area. The report also points out other potential risks to life apart from pollution, the main complaint of the residents.
The roads here are also too narrow for emergency evacuation. NGT, while noting serious health risks in its order in December 2015, directed the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), to set aside a buffer zone between Industrial and Residential areas in four months’ time, so as to avoid the impact of industrial accidents on the human population and also imposed on them a fine of Rs 1 crore.
MPCB has not complied with the direction so far, and the Government of Maharashtra chose to dump a human population in a death trap. The people of Mahul were originally evicted from their slums and forcefully sent there by the state government. To demand justice and immediate relocation, they will be holding a massive rally December 15 if the government fails to act and resolve the issue.

Comments

Uma said…
Being a young CM I had high hopes for Fadnavis but he has been a big disappointment all round. In this case, he is also defying the SC! What a shame for Maharashtra and BJP

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.”

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.

NAPM extends support to Indian, Aussie citizen groups 'opposing' Adani ventures

#StopAdani action in Australia  Counterview Desk  The civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), extending solidarity to the global campaign by the Youth Action to Stop Adani (YAStA), held in recently in Australia and India, has said that the effort was to bring more attention to the struggle aboriginal, indigenous peoples, farmers, working class and other oppressed communities against allegedly anti-people multinational corporate conglomerates.