The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has now taken up the cause of encroachers residing in Mhada transit camps.
The party on Thursday formed a human chain at Mhada headquarters demanding permanent ownership for those living in these camps.
According to AAP volunteer Anjali Damania, these people were cheated by Mhada officials and needed justice.
“The socalled encroachers belong to the lower middle class and they have sold their savings to purchase these houses. Mhada officials facilitated these transactions,” she said.
In the 1970s, residents living in old, dilapidated buildings were moved to Mhada transit camps on the condition that they would return to their houses after the buildings were redeveloped.
However, the revamp was disallowed and tenants continued to live in transit camps.
Many sold houses to others, who are now branded as encroachers.
These transit camps are spread across the city in places such as Sion, Mulund, Goregaon Ghatkopar, Borivali and Goregaon.
Damania admitted that the encroachers had made a mistake, “but now, they are ready to pay according to the ready-reckoner rates”.
Prasad Lad, chairman, Mhada (Mumbai Repair Board) said, “I was surprised that AAP was supporting encroachers. Currently, I have stopped their evictions due to rains,” said Lad adding that he had discussed the matter with chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, asking that a sympathetic approach be adopted towards them.