Mumbai: Residents In The Dark Over Relocation Due To Anna Bhau Memorial

Mumbai: Residents In The Dark Over Relocation Due To Anna Bhau Memorial

However, its development entails relocation of over 200 families residing in Patra Chawl, Chirag Nagar. Despite the residents’ support for the memorial, they remain in the dark about their housing plan. They have demanded clarification from the authorities before vacating their homes.

RUCHA KANOLKARUpdated: Wednesday, April 03, 2024, 11:59 PM IST
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Mumbai: Residents In The Dark Over Relocation Due To Anna Bhau Memorial |

Mumbai: Ghatkopar’s Chirag Nagar, once home to renowned social reformer and literary figure Lokshahir Anna Bhau Sathe, is soon to be adorned with his memorial. However, its development entails relocation of over 200 families residing in Patra Chawl, Chirag Nagar. Despite the residents’ support for the memorial, they remain in the dark about their housing plan. They have demanded clarification from the authorities before vacating their homes.

The proposed memorial, the Anna Bhau Sathe Research and Training Institute, has received approval. Over the years, multiple governments have lent their support to this project, fulfilling a demand dating back to 1969, championed by Anna Bhau Sathe’s followers. The state government has allocated a budget of Rs305.62 crore for it. However, residents spoke of being denied information about relocation on the pretext of confidentiality.

Ratnaprabha Salvi, resident of Chirag Nagar said, “We want new homes in the same location. Despite our diverse backgrounds, we have peacefully coexisted in this chawl, where Anna Bhau Sathe once lived. We support the memorial but insist that residents aren’t troubled.”

Noor Jahan, aged 75 and a resident for 42 years at Patra Chawl said, “Our family has been rooted in this neighbourhood for over 70 years. We’ve spent our entire lives here, building our careers and raising our children. If the government relocates us far from here, it would pose significant challenges as we would have to commute long distances to work.”

Bharati Selvaraj, residing in the adjacent house to Anna Bhau Sathe’s former residence, said, “If authorities demand that we shift from Ghatkopar to another location, we will refuse to vacate our homes. We are not prepared to relocate permanently; we may consider a temporary shift until the project’s completion.”

Selvaraj said that local representatives must convene meetings and furnish details transparently. “It is unacceptable that residents of Chirag Nagar, who have lost their homes to a road widening project, are relegated to transit camps in Vikhroli’s Tagore Nagar and Lakshmi Nagar even after a decade,” she said.

Anil Sathe, nephew of Anna Bhau Sathe, voiced his outrage, “As a member of Anna Bhau’s family, I uphold his legacy of championing the underprivileged and marginalised. Despite comprising a significant voter turnout, we are treated as insignificant. While MLA-MPs grace our locality for their own political gains, not a single representative has bothered to inform us about the project plan or our future living arrangements.”

He said, “We refuse to be treated as disposable commodities or illegal occupants. We categorically reject the idea of Project Affected Persons (PAP) status. We doubt that we will receive adequate compensation or housing space. We are not opposed to the memorial but we demand transparency and accountability.”

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