Mumbai: The Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) recently started the biometric survey of slum dwellers living on the Indian Air Force (IAF) rifle land at Kalina area. As per the SRA biometric department, the land survey has been divided into four slum clusters of total 8,609 hutments. The first slum pocket with 3,452 hutments, second has 3,628, third has 129 and the fourth pocket has 1,400 slums. The survey began on August 14. Till now, biometrics of 7,051 families has been conducted.
For the first time, a defence land is being surveyed by the SRA and a special permission was needed from Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Since the SRA does not have the powers to conduct any survey on defence land, the larger concern is of the encroachers, the driving cause for the survey. According to the government rules, slum-dwellers residing here before 2000, will only be eligible for the rehabilitation scheme. Interestingly, the defence department does not have exact information to the extent of land under their ownership, since in this case, Maharashtra Housing Area Development Authority (MHADA) has contested the ownership.
Another officer from SRA stated the survey on defence land will pave the way for other land parcels under defence which are encroached upon. Soon a blanket permission will be taken from the state government to conduct similar surveys on other defence pieces of land. The land, which has been mired in controversies for several decades, as the IAF has been unable to develop defence rifle station due to encroachments. The defence has also filed a suit in the City Civil Court.