Mumbai: Social activist and AAP leader Medha Patkar today dubbed the decision of Maharashtra government to regularise slums built till 2000 as an “election gimmick” mocking the poor people in the city.

“The Congress-NCP coalition had fought three elections on the poll promise of homes to slum dwellers but had failed to act on it for more than a decade,” Patkar told reporters here.

She wondered how the decision will be implemented since the issue is sub-judice.

“Rajiv Aavas Yojana (RAY) envisages property rights  to the slum dwellers. The cut off date is 2009.. the JNNURM funds have been utilised maximum in Pimpri-Chinchwad, the stronghold
of NCP,” she alleged.

Patkar also said that Union Housing minister Kumari Selja had written to the state government several times that pace of implementation of RAY needed to be accelerated.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had replied to the Union Minister that the slow pace of implementation was because shortage of land and cost escalation in construction of dwelling units, she said.

Patkar claimed 30,000 acre land was under the control of 30 individuals and institutions and the gover ment could have easily taken control of it.

The government has no plan how it will redevelop  slums till the year 2000, she alleged.

“Slum re-development schemes are not corruption free and there is no cut off date in RAY. The scheme which aims to re-develop slums in the same place has not been implemented in the state and not a rupee has been spent out of the first instalment of Rs 10 crore from the Centre,” she alleged.

Patkar claimed the state government has told the Centre that there is no land for implementing the RAY.

“Poor people don’t want free houses but want right on the land and housing and are ready to contribute for the purpose. The state government is making a mockery of the poor people. It does not intend to provide them housing and has no plans and policies for making a slum free city,” she alleged.

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