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Citizen’s demonstration against inaction by Maharashtra Government and in Support of Medha Patkar’s Indeifinite Fast

by Dilip, 9 April 2013

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Protest @ Maharashtra Sadan, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi
April 10, Wednesday, 12 noon onwards
Dear friends
Greetings ! 
Medhatai Patkar is on indefinite fast since April 4, joined by Madhuri Shivkar on April 6th, against the illegal demolition of the slum dwellers in Golibar Mumbai. Today it is 6th day of fast but the government has not taken any cognizance. Signs of weakness and deteriorating health like vomiting, body ache, back ache are now visible on Medha Tai’s health. Even then her spirits are high and constantly encouraging and talking to people who are coming there and meeting them. She started her indefinite hunger strike after Maharashtra Government betrayed people’s faith in rule of law. On April 2-3, 43 houses of the Ganeshkrupa Housing Society were demolished, inspite of a letter from Shri Ajay Maken, Union Minister from Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation; and an ongoing investigation by Principal Secretary, Housing, Govt of Maharashtra into the Golibar (Slum Rehabilitation Authority) SRA project being developmed by Shivalik ventures.

This is not a recent struggle. People of the slums have been fighting for their rights since 2004, when vast areas of slums in Mumbai were razed to the ground by the Vilasrao Deshmukh government to convert Mumbai to Shanghai. The Adarsh Housing Scam, Hiranandani Developers Land grab are examples of the extent to which a handful of powerful people are robbing the common man of a basic right to shelter.
Another such instance is the history of ‘redevelopment’ in Khar Golibar, wherein 140 acres of land- home to 46 societies and over 26,000 families - has been literally gifted to a single private company – Shivalik Ventures, by invoking a special clause – 3K- of the SRA. This clause gives a single builder complete rights to redevelop a large slum without inviting tenders.
A small society of 323 houses in Golibar – Ganesh Krupa – has become the flash point for the struggle between the SRA/Builder nexus and the Slum dwellers, ever since it slapped a case of fraud and forgery on Shivalik Ventures, the builder that forcefully undertook the rights to their development. 6 forced demolition drives over the past 1 year led to the society appealing to Medhatai Patkar and ‘Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao’ for help.
She undertook a 9 day fast in May 2011, which resulted in formation of two committees to look in to the irregularities and corruption in SRA schemes and another to look in to regularisation on slums. However, none of these committees were made functional under pressure from builder lobby.
Once again, when the whole world was celebrating the beginning of a new year, working class of Mumbai dwelling in bastis marched for two days to continue their camp in Azad Maidan for ten days which resulted in another investigation committee under Principal Secretary, Housing, Government of Maharashtra to look in corruption and irregularities. Some bastis were identified where R.A.Y. should be implemented. Mandala (Mankhurd) basti was identified as one of the ’Pilot project’ being on priority and it was decided that process should be started at the earliest and the orders for demolitions were asked to be taken back. By the directions of Honorable Chief Minster, the investigation procedures of these 6 SRA projects is being carried out under the chairmanship of Shri Devashsih Chakravarty.
On February 7-8, 2013 in S.R.A. Office the hearing was called out for these 6 SRA projects, under the chairmanship of Honourable Devashish Chakravarty, Principal Secretary (Housing department’s) wherein MHADA officials, Deputy Collector and Additional Collectors were present. Directions were given by the Chief Minister, that no evictions and demolitions would be undertaken while the investigations are on, but on April 2 – 3, in presence of hundreds of policemen and bouncers of Shivalik builders, demolitions were carried on in Ganesh Krupa Housing Society. On April 2 even Union Minister for Housing and Poverty Alleviation Ministry, Mr. Ajay Maken wrote a detailed letter, asking Maharashtra government to not go ahead with demolitions but even then 43 houses were demolished. Why, when the Ministry of Environment and Forest ordered demolition of Adarsh Housing Society, over illegalities even then it stands tall on Mumbai’s coast, working class of Mumbai asks? CM Shri Prithviraj Chauhan on several occasions assured Medhatai Patkar and Andolan of an inquiry into the matter of Golibar demolitions, and the larger issue of redevelopment of slums in Mumbai, no action has been taken over. This has forced Medha ji to go on an indefinite fast to get justice once again, within a span of two years.
In view of above we have decided to protest against inaction of Maharshtra government at Maharashtra Sadan, Delhi.

Please join us in large numbers at Maharashtra Sadan @ 12:00 noon on Wednesday, 10th, 2013
Address: Copernicus Marg, Near Mandi House, New Delhi, Delhi, 110001
We hope you will lend support and solidarity to the struggle for justice.
Demands of the Andolan are Following :
  1. The enquiry in respect of 6 S.R.A. Projects, under the chairmanship of Principal secretary, Housing, is in progress since 13th January, 2013. We demand that the work in all these projects should be stopped untill the report of the enquiry is completed and actions taken on the recommendations.
  2. If demolitions are being carried out in accordnace with court rulings but the preconditions put forth are not met, main issues and allegations of corruption through forgery, fraudulent consent are not resolved etc., then in such cases project work should be stopped and no further demolitions be carried.
  3. In cases where the residents have submitted self development projects or wish to submit the same, they should be sanctioned and encourgaed and started immediately.
  4. S.R.A. Should ensure that in case of ongoing S.R.A. Projects all conditions in L.O.I. should be complied with.
  5. The L.O.I. of the developer should be withdrawn wherever the developers have submitted forged / false documents or wrong information in violation of the L.O.I – as in case of Shivalik builders.
  6. The Chief Minister of Maharashtra has agreed to implement ’Rajeev Awas Yojana’ in the slums of Mumbai instead of S.R.A., on 2nd January, 2013. However these very slums are being buldozed even today. So, the displacement of these slums should be stopped till R.A.Y. is implemented. The same was conveyed to the State Government by the Union Minister Ajay maken on April 2, 2013.
  7. Pilot projects in respect of slum at Mandala, Mankhurd under the R.A.Y. Have already been submiited to the state as well as Central Governments. That should be approved and implemented at the earliest.
  8. Civic amenities (like water, toilets, nallahs, roads ) should be provided to all the slums immediately as per the written assurance given by the Municipal Commissioner.
  9. The Chief Secretary had given a written assurance on 25th May, 2011 that 19 bastis as agreed in the list, after 9 day fast by Medha Patkar, will be decalred slums within 3 months. There is no action on this assurance till date. The same should be done. The Chief Minister, and the Principal Secretary, Ministry of Housing had premised again in January, 2013 to complete this action during discussions held with them. They also gave a written assurance to that effect. The displacements that are being carried out at present are, therefore, grossly unjust and hence should be stopped forthwith.
  10. Shri Ajay Maken, Minister for Housing and Urban poverty alleviation, Government of India has written a letter to the Chief Minister, Maharashtra state on 2nd April, 2013. The Chief Minister should declare his stand on the letter in writing.
  11. The land of Sathe Nagar should be given for R.A.Y. . This land is currently under the hold of Bombay Soap company.

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