BJP Leader Piyush Goyal Announces Plans To Relocate Mumbai Slums To Salt Pan Lands, Draws Opposition Ire

BJP Leader Piyush Goyal Announces Plans To Relocate Mumbai Slums To Salt Pan Lands, Draws Opposition Ire

The bulk of votes in Mumbai is in the slums and by stating that the zopadpattis will be shifted to salt pan s, he has created a scare in the minds of the slum-dwellers. Goyal made the statement at an event in the city on Saturday.

Kalpesh MhamunkarUpdated: Saturday, March 30, 2024, 07:48 PM IST
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Union Minister Piyush Goyal | Photo: PTI

Mumbai: Union minister and BJP candidate from Mumbai north Piyush Goyal has unwittingly given a big stick to the opposition to beat his party by declaring that all slums in Mumbai would be relocated to salt pan lands.

The bulk of  votes in Mumbai is in the slums and by stating that the zopadpattis will be shifted to salt pans, he has created a scare in the minds of the slum-dwellers. Goyal made the statement at an event in the city on Saturday.

The opposition, led by Shiv Sena (UBT) and the Congress  were quick to grab the opportunity to slam the BJP. Shiv Sena (UBT) leader and former state cabinet minister Aaditya Thackeray said sarcastically that the  BJP wanted the slum-dwellers to to be moved out "because they cannot buy electoral bonds."

He said the it is duty of the state government to ensure the welfare of zopadpatti residents and the Centre had no role in that. He accused the BJP of hatching a conspiracy to dump millions of slum-dwellers in salt pan lands. 

Aaditya said "Goyal ji, the BJP  has had a full majority  govt at the Centre for 10 years and governed the state for 8.5 years. The party has had ample opportunities to develop the things you mentioned in a recent interview, but we Mumbaikars have only been cheated and looted of our pride and financial status, by the Union govt."

He further targeted Goyal and said "Today you have chosen to contest  from the Mumbai North seat, but doesn’t mean that you enforce authoritarian rule on those who live in our slums and forcefully shift them to salt pan lands. They have a voice too, and they want in situ development, which all of us, Mumbaikars support. They all work for the growth story of Bharat. Forcing them out to salt pan lands is not something we will allow....  we will stand in your way."

He accused the BJP of being pro-builders. "Why did the Union Govt block the Kanjurmarg land proposal for the metro car depot of lines 3,4,6 and 14, falsely claiming it was saltpan? Only because it would benefit Mumbaikars?", he asked.

Aaditya assured his party will protect  salt pan lands from the builder lobby... And protect  Maharashtra against anti Maharashtra interests contesting from here.  He alleged that current regime doesn't want to remove poverty but the poor. Environmentalists have for long been warning against the "development" of salt pan lands since they function like balancing chambers which absorbs excess rain water and minimise flooding of the city during heavy monsoon.City Congress president Prof Varsha Gaikwad said her party will tooth and nail oppose any move to shift slum-dwellers.

She said it has been the policy of the Congress to carry out in situ rehabilitation of slum-dwellers. But the BJP is openly talking of relocating zopadpatti residents, who constitute 60 % of the population of the city, which will hit these people badly. Prof Gaikwad accused the BJP of implementing the agenda of builders who were eying land occupied by slum-dwellers. 

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