Court orders breached, Mahul residents yet to be rehabilitated

Mumbai: Yuva Sena president Aaditya Thackeray, known for according special attention to environmental issues, raised concerns about the residents of Mahul.

The 29-year-old leader also urged the Chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis, to take up the matter with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and scrap the property tax of the houses they were living in. Despite the Yuva Sena chief’s intervention, no action has been taken from the government side.

On Thursday afternoon, the Mahul residents gathered outside the Shiv Sena Bhavan, Dadar, to stage a silent protest against the government’s apathetic attitude of the government towards them. They were attended by senior Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha member Anil Desai and Suraj Chavan, PA to the Yuva Sena president.

Desai informed the residents Thackeray, who was then unavailable at the Sena Bhavan, was told by the municipal commissioner the procedure was over and the flats would be allotted to the residents, who are critically ill on a priority basis.

Mahul, which houses a number of refineries, has been declared ‘unfit’ for sustaining living by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), as there is high toxicity in the air and the water is impure to drink.

“At least one person from every family is suffering from either tuberculosis or skin diseases,” said Anita Dole, a resident.

Earlier in April, the Bombay High Court had ordered the authorities to immediately rehabilitate the residents. The HC had also stated that alternatively the residents were eligible to receive Rs15,000 as a rent subsidy.

The residents, who met the CM four times in the last 18 months complained, “We are living on a footpath for the past year. Leading a life is impossible in Mahul. The CM has gicen false assurances only, but never took any action,” stated Puja Pandit.

The residents said earlier a committee was set up by BMC to address the issue, which is now chaired by BMC commissioner Praveen Pardeshi. But, the committee did nothing about the rehabilitation.

Social worker Bilal Khan said no matter how many times they approach BMC, they come up with a new excuse every time.

A senior official from the Maharashtra Housing Developments Authorities (MHADA) said the resolution of allotment of 300 flats to Mahul residents has been confirmed and passed to BMC, which now needs to do final allotment.

Presently, 5,500 families living along the Tansa pipeline in Ghatkopar and Vidyavihar have been shifted to Mahul, where they were placed in rehab buildings. Most residents are now suffering from diseases like TB, asthma and skin diseases.

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