Mumbai: It was a major victory for hundreds of Mahul village residents, the toxic hell in Chembur, on Wednesday. This, after the Bombay High Court asked the Maharashtra government to pay Rs 15000 to each family every month as rent for their alternate accommodation.
A bench of Justices Abhay Oka and Manoj Sanklecha also directed the government to pay Rs 45000 to all the families towards annual deposit. The bench slammed the government, which had on an earlier hearing, proposed to pay Rs 800 to each family as rent.The orders were passed after several residents petitioned the bench, highlighting the lack of basic facilities at the 59 buildings in Mahul village, where they were compelled to shift under the rehabilitation project.
The pleas even highlighted observations of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), which specifically said that air quality in the area posed a health hazard to people living in the area. Having considered the contentions, the bench led by Justice Oka had earlier, said, “Right to live in a pollution-free environment is an essential part of the fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
Prima facie, we are of the view that the government cannot force any of the project-affected persons to go and occupy the tenements in Mahul.” Recently, IIT-B had also submitted a report recommending immediate shift-ing of these residents to a “safe” place.
The residents are basically Project-Affected Persons (PAPs) who were given accommodation in Mahul village. These were shifted to this site pursuant to an HC order by which the government was asked to remove persons living within 10 metres from the Tansa pipeline, which is one of the major suppliers of water to Mumbai.