Mumbai: Mahul residents asked to reply on BMC’s claim of high monetarycompensation

Mumbai: The Supreme Court on Friday issued notices to Maharashtra government and also to the residents of Mahul village, seeking reply to a plea filed by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which has challenged the “monetary compensation” ordered by the Bombay High Court.

The civic body had moved the apex court last week challenging the orders of the HC, by which the civic body was asked to immediately make arrangements for shifting residents of Mahul village, the “toxic hell” of Mumbai, to a safer place. The HC had also directed the Maharashtra government to pay Rs 15,000 per month to these residents as a rent, so that they can live at some alternate places. The government was further ordered to grant Rs 45,000 as a deposit amount.

While hearing the contentions, a bench led by Justice MR Shah expressed concern over the amount ordered by the HC. The bench also comprised Justices Aniruddha Bose and AS Bopanna, who were sworn-in as SC judges on Friday morning. The bench has now asked the Mahul residents to file their response to the contentions raised by the BMC.

Notably, the residents have been staging protest at Ghatkopar seeking safer homes since last 200 days. These residents have tried to highlight the fact that over 200 people have died at Mahul in last two years and large number of residents are suffering from respiratory diseases, owing to the high levels of air pollution.

The orders impugned by the BMC were passed by a bench of the HC led by Justice Abhay Oka after perusing reports of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay. The IIT-B had in its report termed Mahul as an unsafe place for humans and had recommended immediate shifting of the residents to a safer place.

Trashing the report, the BMC has now claimed the IIT-B had no jurisdiction to look into the environmental aspect of the issue. The civic body has further claimed the IIT-B was never asked to look into this aspect and in fact the institute has gone beyond its terms of reference to survey Mahul.

“The HC without adjudicating whether the air pollution level or ambient air quality is even prima facie of the level which would warrant protective orders has insisted upon the government to provide alternate accommodation or monetary compensation by way of monthly rent to these project affected persons,” the plea filed by the BMC states.  The civic body has further stated the government has no policy to provide such a monetary compensation to any PAPs.

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