235 huts razed along pipelines in Bandra | india | Hindustan Times
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235 huts razed along pipelines in Bandra

Following a Bombay High Court directive to clear encroachments along water pipelines, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Monday razed 235 huts in Bandra (West). Bhavika Jain reports.

india Updated: Feb 17, 2009 15:22 IST
Bhavika Jain

Following a Bombay High Court directive to clear encroachments along water pipelines, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Monday razed 235 huts in Bandra (West).

The area has been cleared to lay down stormwater drains.

“Initially we faced a little resistance from the slumdwellers,” said Deputy Municipal Commissioner, Encroachments, Suhas Karvande. “But they later calmed down and cooperated with us.”

On February 11, the high court directed the BMC to clear all slums along the water mains while hearing a petition filed by NGO Janhit Manch.

Dispelling concerns about the land being re-encroached upon, Karvande said: “Now that the demolition has been conducted, the land will be protected so that no further encroachments can occur.”

But the now-homeless slumdwellers were upset.

“I have been living here since the early ’90s. My documents were washed away in the 2005 deluge,” said Praveen Misra (34), whose hut was demolished in Monday’s drive. “It’s unfair that when the BMC flexes its muscles, we, the poor have to bear the brunt.”

A senior civic official, on condition of anonymity, said that the BMC faces this problem on numerous occasions.

“It’s so difficult to differentiate between people who are here legitimately and those who aren’t,” said the official. “Documents are so easy to forge these days that while trying to weed out slumdwellers who moved in after 2000, we end up evicting legitimate residents or vice versa.”

Figures obtained from the BMC show that there are 15,789 hutments located along the water pipelines, of which 6,687 were built before 1995 and are considered to be legal as per government policy.

While 2,103 slums have come up during 1995 to 2000, 6,999 are believed to have sprung up post-2000 and thus deemed illegal.