Mumbai: The Maharashtra Legislative Assembly today amended an act to regularise slums which have come up before January 1, 2000, a decision which will benefit more than three lakh slum dwellers in the city.
The Maharashtra Slum Areas (Improvement, Clearance and Redevelopment) Act, 1971, was not listed in the day’s agenda and was introduced by Minister of State for Housing Sachin Ahir. The decision had been cleared by the cabinet earlier this week.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan denied that the bill was introduced with an eye on elections. He also told the house that Attorney General’s opinion was sought.
“We were told that introduction of the bill was not a contempt of the Court. Though the court (the Supreme Court) has ordered in another verdict that there will be no further extension of the cut-off dates, the extension was allowed in some vital public projects in Mumbai,” Chavan said.
Delay in fulfilling the election promise of regularising slums upto the year 2000 was due to legal hurdles, he said.
“In the last 15 years, the state government has done a lot of work to improve the infrastructure in Mumbai,” he said.
Chavan said he had asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation commissioner to ensure that the slum dwellers get electricity and water connections from the date of the passage of the bill in the legislature.
He agreed that there was encroachment on government lands, and said and efforts were on to find viable ways for rehabilitation of the slum-dwellers.
An act passed by the state legislature seeking to prevent proliferation of slums had received the Centre’s approval, the Chief Minister said.