Mumbai: 800 Families From Santacruz To Boycott Lok Sabha Elections Over 75-Month Delay in SRA Scheme

Mumbai: 800 Families From Santacruz To Boycott Lok Sabha Elections Over 75-Month Delay in SRA Scheme

The Supreme Court's intervention, granting full authority to the SRA for the swift execution of the long-stalled slum rehabilitation scheme, failed to catalyze progress. Despite the court's decree on January 4, 2018, and subsequent tendering processes, the plight of Santacruz's residents remains unabated.

RUCHA KANOLKARUpdated: Thursday, April 11, 2024, 11:57 PM IST
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Mumbai: 800 Families From Santacruz To Boycott Lok Sabha Elections Over 75-Month Delay in SRA Scheme | Representational image

Mumbai: In a bold stance against prolonged neglect and bureaucratic lethargy, 800 families residing in Om Namo Sujlam Suphalam Cooperative Housing Society, Santacruz, have opted to boycott the Lok Sabha elections. Their resolute action comes as a response to the interminable delay in the implementation of vital projects by the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA).

The slum dwellers, hailing from Shivaji Nagar, Santacruz (East), have endured over 75 months of stagnation in the SRA scheme, ensnared in a protracted dispute between the SRA and developer Messrs. Keystone Realtors Limited. This impasse, marked by bureaucratic inertia and alleged non-compliance from the developer's end, has left the community in a state of dire neglect.

The Supreme Court's intervention, granting full authority to the SRA for the swift execution of the long-stalled slum rehabilitation scheme, failed to catalyze progress. Despite the court's decree on January 4, 2018, and subsequent tendering processes, the plight of Santacruz's residents remains unabated.

Slum Dwellers Facing Unbearable Issues

Located adjacent to the Vakola drain in a low-lying area, the slum is inundated with water during the monsoon, subjecting inhabitants to unsanitary conditions and an intolerable stench. Raman Gawde, secretary of the organization, lamented the SRA's blatant disregard for court orders mandating the completion of the scheme and the provision of housing within two years. He said, "Despite 75 months passing since the Supreme Court's order, the slum rehabilitation plan at this institution has stagnated for nearly a decade. The Slum Rehabilitation Authority has failed to comply with the court's directive to complete the scheme and provide houses to slum dwellers within two years. Progress remains sluggish despite the court's intervention disqualifying developers, with several months elapsing since the project's tender. Urgent action from the Slum Rehabilitation Authority is needed to alleviate the dire conditions endured by residents during monsoons."


Sejal Surve, resident of Shivaji nagar chawl no.8 said, "I've lived here for 24 years, and my in-laws have been here for 60. We face numerous challenges—especially during the monsoon, when our house fills with water up to waist level. It's particularly difficult for my paralyzed father-in-law, as we struggle to assist him to the washroom. Mosquitoes are a constant nuisance, and the gutters in our chawl remain choked throughout the year, not just during the rainy season. Despite our plight, no ward officer or leader has ever visited to address our concerns. Illnesses, fevers, and coughs spread rapidly due to the unsanitary conditions. We've been waiting for this area to be developed for 24 years now, and we're only dreaming of a better life after development. It's puzzling why the authorities won't let us have a better quality of life. In this city, we see high-rise towers every day, yet we're forced to live in squalor on our own land. Santacruz is a prime location with significant value, and even developers stand to profit from its development, so we're left wondering what's holding them back."

Despite the community's cooperation, bureaucratic inefficiency and alleged negligence persist, leaving residents in a state of perpetual hardship. The decision to boycott the elections, undertaken by 672 hut owners and 128 flat owners, serves as a poignant indictment of systemic failure and institutional apathy. Santacruz's residents demand swift action, urging authorities to prioritize their welfare over bureaucratic wrangling and developer disputes.

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