Mumbai: 12th Nov 2018
After 15 days of continuous protest by the determined residents of Tansa pipeline who were rehabilitated in Mumbai’s Toxic Hell, Mahul, forced the government to have a meeting with residents at Mantralaya today. In a two hour long meeting held today, the Housing Minister, Prakash Mehta has agreed to shift the Mahul residents temporarily to Kurla HDIL, a site that was proposed by the members of Mahul Prakalpgrast Sangharsh Samiti Nandu Shide, Puja Pandit, Sachin Gadge, Ashok Mahskar, Haresh Karmade, Rekha Gadge, Sachin Chandeliya, Pravin Haldankar, Sanjay Rajoriya and Shreekant More, Social Activists Medha Patkar and Bilal Khan from Ghar bachao Ghar Banao Andolan. The Housing Minister has also assured the people that the proposal to shift people to Kurla HDIL will be discussed with the Chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis in the coming days and the Ministry will be giving a final decision within next four days. However, the Minister has only given an oral agreement and nothing in written has been provided. The meeting was attended by Prakash Mehta (Minister of Housing Department, Maharashtra), Bhushan Gagrani (Principal Secretary, Urban Development Department), Sanjay Kumar (additional Chief secretary, Dept of Housing) and officials from Slum rehabilitation Authority (SRA), Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA).
In 2017 residents from Tansa pipeline area were shifted to Mahul, Which is one of most ‘Critically’ polluted region of Mumbai. The citizens started their protest under the banner of ‘Jeevan Bachao Andolan’ on 28th October 2018, after the govt failed to act on the directions of Bombay High Court, given out in August 2018, asking the Govt to provide alternative rehabilitation to the people living in Mahul. All families staying in Mahul have reported deaths and continued illnesses like TB, Cancer, tumors etc among their family members since they started living there. Over 100 people have already lost their life while living in Mahul. The people have termed this as a mass genocide by the govt.
Seeing this as a positive development after a rigorous resistance put up for 15 days, the Mahul residents have decided to keep up the struggle till the govt provides concrete decision, on paper, in coming days. To bring the govt’s attention to their plight the people from Mahul had yesterday formed a 3 km long human chain in the Ghatkopar region yesterday which culminated at the Housing Ministers residence. The Minister was forced to communicate with the Mahul residents and gave an assurance to hold the meeting today. It must be noted that the Minister had evaded any dialogue with the people since past one year. However, the fight is far from over for the Mahul residents as the Kurla HDIL will only be a temporary relief, if agreed to by the govt. The future of Mahul residents and their upcoming generations continue to remain insecure and uncertain.