Mumbai : In a bid to cut into the Shiv Sena votebank ahead of the BMC elections, the State Cabinet has offered much needed relief to residents of 40 Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) Transit Camps by assuring rehabilitation to encroachers in Prime Minister’s Awas Yojna (PMAY). Original inhabitants will also be rehabilitated at the same site. This policy will directly benefit more than 21,000 tenements families. The Cabinet has decided to set up a sub-committee to finalise the rehab policy.

According to an official from housing department, apart from Prakash Mehta, minister for housing department and head of the cabinet sub-committee, the other members would include two Ministers – Vinod Tawde and Diwakar Raote, Ministers of State Ravindra Waikar, Vidya Thakur and Ravindra Chavan. Additional Chief Secretary (Housing) will act as its convenor.

The official said, the issue involves about 21,000 tenements out of which 8,500 odd have been occupied by encroachers. Sources revealed that encroachers have purchased the tenement on vacation notice from the original Transit Camp residents. While some encroachers have also purchased them by paying sums to officials from the MHADA close to two decades ago.

The proposal moved before the cabinet suggested two options. Either taking rent from the encroachers at market rates and give them tenements under PMAY. At present, the encroachers have to shell out Rs 6,000 monthly rent as against the Rs 500 rent for the original inhabitants of the transit camps. In the case of original occupants, the idea mooted is to give them tenements under MHADA schemes while taking away their original transit camp tenements.

The land in question admeasures about 6,90,416.80 Sq mtrs. Most of these Transit Camps are located in Borivali, Chembur, Goregaon, Oshiwara, Malwani, Dharavi, Ghatkopar, Magathane, Mankhurd, Mulund, Vikhroli, Kandivali, Wadala, Colaba, Sion, Bandra and Mahim. Most of these areas have been traditional Sena strongholds.

According to BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari, the decision will benefit BJP who can claim they (Karun Dakhawale) did it. ‘Karun Dakhawale’ is the slogan of Shiv Sena. On the other hand MoS Waikar said, they have  raised the issue and they will get benefit of this decision.

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