Conduct biometric survey of slum-dwellers: SGNP to SRA

Mumbai: Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) has asked the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) to conduct a biometric survey of the slum dwellers encroached on their forest land. According to a senior SRA official the biometric survey will be held for the first time on a forest land.

“Since SRA is not authorised to carry out such surveys without the government’s sanction. Hence, special permissions have been taken from the state forest department to carry out this survey on this land after we made the request,” said the official said, requesting anonymity.

Furthermore, the SRA is also planning to get a blanket permission from the state. The official added, “Once a blanket permission is received the survey work will be taken up immediately, as we do not have to waste time seeking permission to carry out surveys on every single encroached plot.”

The biometric survey will be done to ascertain the number of occupants residing on a particular piece of land prior to 2000. SGNP official confirmed, “As per our records, there are more than 30,000 hutments spread across the forest area and their biometric survey will be conducted. The idea is to clear the park of human encroachment.”

As per the information, it was in 1997 that the Bombay High Court had directed the forest department to rehabilitate eligible slum dwellers. Following which, 13,500 were rehabilitated at Chandivali, while the remaining families have been waiting rehabilitation for nearly two decades.

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