After resistance from locals and slum dwellers, many of whom are civic employees, the BMC had to defer the demolition of the Tulsiwadi civic quarters at Tardeo on Wednesday.
The BMC is planning to redevelop the 72,000 square metre plot, which houses BMC Class IV employees and some slum dwellers with the help of a private developer.
The plot, located near the Mahalaxmi Race Course, houses around 724 residents and around 2,700 slum dwellers.
Some locals have also filed a case in the High Court (HC) against the BMC, alleging among others, that some ineligible tenants have been made beneficiaries under the redevelopment scheme.
The tenants had also objected to the BMC’s plans to grant them conditional ownership of the flats.
The residents, who have come together under the banner of social activist Medha Patkar’s National Alliance for Peoples Movements (NAPM), have issued a legal notice to Municipal Commissioner Johny Joseph and other senior officers on Wednesday.
Earlier this month, the BMC had demolished one of the buildings on the grounds that it was demolished, and had evicted 19 tenants, amidst high drama, which saw eight people being arrested for trying to set themselves afire.
Though BMC officials reached the spot on Wednesday morning, the local residents lead by Patkar protested, which lead to a heated argument.
Ramesh Pawar, Assistant Commissioner and ward officer of the D ward, said he would resume the demolitions on December 5, after the court gave it’s order on the case filed by the residents.
Activists alleged large- scale violations in the project. Said Simpreet Singh of the NAPM: “The project seeks to redevelop the slums along with the buildings which is an violation of the development control rules (DCR)."
Moreover, residents said that they would be denied ownership of the flats once the scheme was constructed as it was done in the case of some supervisory staff during the case of the redevelopment of municipal quarters near the Love Grove pumping station.
However, Pawar refuted the charges: “Over 70 per cent of the residents have consented to the project and have shifted to the alternate accommodation. It is only a miniscule number of people who are protesting.”
The legal notice sent to the BMC by IPS officer turned advocate YP Singh, has also alleged that the civic body has committed violations like not taking clearances from the railways, not obtaining permissions from the additional collector for the demolition of the slums and not issuing open tenders for the project.
Activists also alleged that the BCM had inked an agreement with a co- operative society formed by the residents, which had later been deregistered. “The whole proposal is being floated to take hold of the city’s prime land,” alleged Simpreet Singh.
Meanwhile, the BMC demolished encroachments on collectorate land at Ganesh Murti Nagar in Cuffe Parade. Around 350 encroachments were present on the land, of whioch some were demolished last week and the rest on Wednesday.
After the demolition is completed on Thursday, the land will be handed over to the MMRDA, which will fence and protect it, said additional collector R.V Game.
Dhaval Kulkarni Email: firstname.lastname@example.org