Mahul residents compelled to live in ‘toxic hell’
Mahul residents compelled to live in ‘toxic hell’

Mumbai: In two consecutive and concurrent rulings, the Bombay High Court has directed the Maharashtra government and also the city civic body to relocate the over 35,000 residents of Mahul, the toxic hell of Mumbai. However, there is no respite for these project affected persons (PAPs) as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has delayed their rehabilitation by moving the Supreme Court.

BMC has approached the apex court challenging the orders of the Bombay HC, which had ordered the civic authority to pay Rs 15,000 monthly rent to these residents and Rs 45,000 towards security deposit, so as to enable them to shift to ‘safer’ places.

The orders passed by Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog had also clearly asked BMC ‘not to shift’ any other PAPs to Mahul village.

But the civic body has challenged CJ Nandrajog’s orders and has sought quashing of the same before the SC. It has claimed that it would not be ‘affordable’ for the civic body to disburse such amounts for monthly rent and security deposits as it would lead to a huge hole in BMC’s pocket.

SC has been hearing this plea of BMC but has not yet stayed the orders passed by CJ Nandrajog. Despite this, BMC has chosen not to implement HC’s orders.

With this stand of the civic body, the residents are compelled to continue living in the toxic hell and deal with numerous ailments day-in-and-day-out.

With there being no clarity, the fate of Mahul residents still is not clear. “We have suffered a lot but now we cannot afford to continue languishing here. The authorities must do something now, especially when the HC has given its final judgment,” said Ramjit Gupta, a resident.

“At least one person in every house is suffering from some of the other disease, caused by the pollution here. We are being forced to live here by the authorities. I am also suffering from respiratory issues but have no choice than to continue living here,” Gupta added.

According to the report submitted by the IIT-Bombay, which was extensively

relied on by CJ Nandrajog while giving his judgment, the pollution levels are not only impacting the health but also the jobs of these

residents.

“It is clear that health impacts not only lead to enhanced costs of treatment for low-income categories of the population here, but they also cause other adverse impacts by affecting their ability to work, earn wages, and sustain their livelihoods,” the IIT - B report states.

The report further claims that over 140 individuals, who were interviewed by the survey team, claimed that they lost their jobs due to health-related issues and over 200 mentioned loss of wages due to health issues, as they could not go to work on many days in a year due to poor health.

As far as the quality of drinking water supplied to these residents is concerned, the report states that over 90 per cent of the residents surveyed, claimed that the quality of drinking water was bad, and not fit for human consumption.

“This was also observed during our visits, where the drinking water in the pipes and pumps were contaminated, had thin oil films, had foreign particles, and had got mixed with sewage and toilet water in several of the

buildings,” the report

highlights.

The report further

highlights the fact that there is no pubic healthcare in the vicinity due to which these residents are forced to get treatments in private hospitals, which charge

exorbitantly.

Taking note of the rising health issues in the area, NGO - Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan through activists Bilal Khan, has organised medical camps, wherein a team of general physicians, dermatologists, gynaecologists and so on, are visiting the site and are conducting free checkups for the residents.

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