Staring at an uncertain future for nearly a decade, there is a new ray of hope for thousands of displaced slum dwellers who are eagerly waiting for their dream homes under the Basic Services to Urban Poor (BSUP) project in Kashimira.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has finally given its green signal to pump funds amounting Rs 127 crore for the completion of the project, following which the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) issued work orders to the lowest bidder on Monday for the construction work which had hit technical and procedural delays hurdles created by the standing committee.
“This is a fitting reply to a section of selfish politicians who claim to single-handedly rule the civic body, but themselves are throwing spanners in developmental works. I am thankful to the Sena-led MVA government for clearing the deadlock, we will ensure that the work gets completed in-time,” said Sena legislator Pratap Sarnaik.
"The project has been lingering for the past so many years, rather than making it a credit taking move, completing the project as soon as possible should be the goal. It's the duty of all elected representatives to shoulder responsibility," said Mayor Jyotsna Hasnale, a BJP leader.
In 2009, two slum clusters - Janta Nagar and Kranti Nagar - were identified for constructing 4,136 flats of 279 sq.feet each under the BSUP. However, due to inordinate delays the central government reduced the number of units from 4,136 to 2,160.
While the present work order envisages construction of 960 flats in three towers, each 16 storeys high, 1021 flats are in the middle stage of construction out of which 294 units are nearing completion. Ironically, only 179 slum dwellers have been rehabilitated in the lingering project for the past 10 years as others have been shifted to transit accommodations. As per the funding pattern of the Rs 292 crore project (which later shot up by more than 75 crore), the center and state shared 50% and 30% respectively with 9% contribution from the MBMC and the remaining to be borne by the beneficiaries.
Decade of Despair
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has emphasised on strengthening the housing sector so as to provide homes for all. However, in the BJP-ruled MBMC, the much hyped rehabilitation project has scripted history by missing multiple deadlines thus shattering slum dwellers' hope of getting their dream homes for nearly a decade.
The BSUP has translated into a contractor-driven scheme and a money minting exercise for middlemen and a section of corrupt officials in the MBMC as costs have inflated and beneficiary lists bloated, highlighting the need of a detailed probe into the accusations.