Ashish Shelar wants first floor of slum houses to be made legal  

Mumbai: Mumbai’s Bandra West constituency legislator Ashish Shelar from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has made a demand to the Uddhav Thackeray’s government to regularise the first floor of slum houses.

Shelar has made the demand in a bid to fulfill Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mission of housing for all by 2022. “If these structures are made legal, people residing there too will be able to get houses under the government scheme,” he said. 

Besides this, Shelar also wants a policy decision on providing separate light and water meter connections to families who have houses on the first floor in Koliwadas (fishermen community houses).

Commenting on his demand, Shelar justified, these tenants extended their houses vertically, since the members of their family increased. To accommodate them, they have built an additional floor to their ground structure, which is legitimate.

Now, several joint families are living separately. Therefore, this first-floor separate family houses too should be made legal instead of terming such structures as encroached areas.

Interestingly, Shelar represents one of the Mumbai’s constituencies that is known for having maximum slum pockets, namely, Gazdhar Bandh, Dandpada, Maharashtra Nagar, Stalter House, Nargis Dutt Nagar, Santacruz West Khetwadi,  Nityanand Nagar, Rahul Nagar, and Shastri Nagar, among a few. 

In Mumbai, there are about 65,000 such slum houses that have ground plus one structure. And there are 65 Koliwadas where the fishermen community have their houses.

Reportedly, in the past, the residents of Koliwadas raised an objection against the government for labelling Koliwadas as slums by bringing slum redevelopment projects.

Godfrey Pimenta, advocate, and a petitioner who is seeking demarcation of Goathans, Koliwadas and Adivasi Padas in the development plan (DP) 2034 has welcomed Shelar’s demand.

However, he pointed out “The demand to regularise the first floor of Koliwadas should not be restricted, but it should also be for the Goathans, Adivasi Padas, since these are urban villages.

The tenants living here are the original Bhoomi Putra or original inhabitants of Mumbai city.”  Pimenta also referred to the Bombay High Court judgment of August 5 given by the division bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Bharati Dangre, which reads that no demolition can be carried out of the extended structure as treating the inhabitants of Goathans as slum-dwellers is not as per the existing laws. 

This paper had earlier reported about the research conducted by the international property consultant Knight Frank on Mumbai Development Plan 2034 — Deciphering Mumbai’s Future in November 2018— which revealed that of the 1.5 to 1.6 million slum households in Mumbai, only 1 lakh houses have been built for slum-dwellers in last 20 years.

Moreover, the report had cited that at this rate, if it continues, then it will take another 300 years to rehabilitate slums in Mumbai, provided no new slums are added.

Recently, the Uddhav Thackeray-led coalition government in its common minimum programme had announced a provision 500 square feet houses to slum dwellers. Earlier, the slum-dwellers were offered houses measuring 300 square feet.

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