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Thousands of urban poor to march from Mankhurd in Mumbai
On January 1, 2013, thousands of poor will take to the streets of Mumbai, and will begin their march in the afternoon from Mankhurd to Mantralaya. They will reach Azad Maidan on January 2 and demand fulfillment of their rights, and a complete end to all atrocities by the builder-state nexus.

THOUSANDS OF hard-working, poor families in Mumbai are facing brutal atrocities in violation of their legal and human right to housing and livelihood. On one hand are the wealthiest and consumerist rich elites in Mumbai, displaying the material well-being in this financial capital of India while 30 to 40 per cent people live in poor localities even when they are the ‘real builders’ of the houses and infrastructure and real producers in Mumbai.

With least of the burden put on the city’s administration and the society at large and without begging before the Government, they live the life of simplicity and make maximum contribution in public interest. However, the Government doesn’t seem to be concerned about fulfilling their basic rights and needs, and is making them face the builders’ illegal attacks and anti-poor urban projects bringing in unconstitutional eviction and deprivation.

In this context, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan has been active since 2005 and has exposed the illegality, corruption and injustice as in the cases of Adarsh, Hiranandani, Golibar, Sion-Koliwada and a number of slum eviction drives and slum rehabilitation projects and yet, the State and the police administration continue to support builders against poor and resort to unjust repression on non-violent agitations, quelling the rights of hundreds’ years old habitants as well as generations old fish-workers in Mumbai.

It is a known fact that more than 30,000 acres of land has been illegally retained against the ceiling limit, when the Urban Ceiling Act existed and even after the Act was withdrawn, with a claim to release the land, the same is not being allotted even to the cooperative societies of the middle class, leave aside to the homeless poor.

GBGB Andolan has raised these issues along with other peoples’ organisations in Mumbai and demanded Rajeev Awas Yojana (RAY) as self-development towards right to shelter. However, it is the builders-politicians nexus, with bureaucrats and police force to support, that is not permitting RAY to be undertaken in Mumbai.

A declared proposal of RAY to one Mandala community in Mankhud is not granted approval since last 4 years. On the other hand, going against its manifesto and the rights of people, eviction of slums continues with bulldozers at doorsteps all the time. Umpteen number of court cases and complaints in police are being managed by the builders through their political manoeuvring.

It was during the 9-day long fast, and and relay fast by 1200 women and men at Golibar-Khar, Mumbai, that the Chief Minister and Chief Secretary of Maharashtra had promised in writing, and also brought out notifications appointing two fact-finding committees under chairmanship of Justice (Retd.) H. Suresh. Declaration of slums and providing amenities such as water, toilets, drainage, electricity, rationing, etc., was one of the promises.

However, even notifications were withdrawn, taking false resort to court orders with deliberately wrong interpretations. As a result, eviction and corruption as well as deprivation continue.

After a number of dialogues and discussions, memoranda and appeals as well as non-violent protests, facing lathis and jails, the poor and those who face illegal impeachment on their housing rights are determined to start a renewed struggle, called Mumbai ke Gareebon ki nayi Jung.

On January 1, 2013, thousands of poor will take to the streets of Mumbai, and will begin their march in afternoon from Mankhurd to Mantralaya. They would reach Azad Maidan on January 2, and demand fulfilment of their rights and a complete end to all atrocities by the builder-state nexus.

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