A few thousand slum dwellers and residents of middle class localities, whose land and housing rights were denied due to the builder-friendly Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) scheme involving re-development of projects - continued to protest for the second day through a sit-in at Mumbai's Azad Maidan to bring to notice blatant illegalities and corruption in slum affairs.
PRIOR TO their sit-in, the protestors had begun the new year
with a two-day long march on foot from Mankhurd (East) and Malad and Golibar (West) to Mantralaya. They also paid tributes to Savitribai Phule on her birth anniversary. Phule was applauded for her work in fighting for women's rights and education.
Last Wednesday, a delegation that had gone to meet Maharashtra
Chief Minister, Prithvi Raj Chauhan, refused to meet him as he claimed inability to interact with a larger delegation, which included representatives from various housing societies and bastis. Later in the evening, having come under pressure, he did meet the larger delegation.
During the meeting with the Chief Minister and the Home Minister, which lasted for an hour and a half, the members of the Andolan discussed immediate issues of land grab and deprivation - and of wrongful eviction, atrocities of the police, and the lack of investigation into the many land scams involving land grab by unscrupulous builders.
The activists brought up the demand for declaration of undeclared slums. A list of 19 slums has been submitted for the same - as without such a declaration, no funds, development plans and facilities are provided towards inclusive growth.
The Chief Minister was told that amenities such as drains, primary health care centres, water, toilet blocks, drains, and anganwadis are the bare minimum amenities required to make sure that the poor don't live sub-human lives.
The Andolan plans to continue the sit-in until the government gives an undertaking in writing about its response and agreement to the demands of the movement. The Ghar Bachao Ghar banao Andolan-NAPM was forced to organize the massive mobilisation - following a slew of illegal demolitions in Sion Koliwada, Golibar, and other places in past few months. People participating in the agitation as furious that the government is not taking a decision in regularisation of slums and investigation into land scams.