The government will regularise over one lakh more unauthorised structures in Mumbai next week, according to city Congress chief Kripashankar Singh. “Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has promised to promulgate an ordinance in this regard within a week,” he said.
According to Singh, illegal structures — primarily slums — built before January 1, 2000, will be regularised. The current cut-off date for regularisation of such structures is January 1, 1995.
An earlier Congress government had extended the cut-off date from 1986 to 1995. This was challenged in court, and the matter is currently before the Bombay High Court.
Nawab Malik, labour minister and guardian minister for Mumbai, said the court had not restricted the government from amending the relevant law.
“We are very serious about fulfilling the promise we had made five years ago,” said guardian minister for Mumbai Nawab Malik. In its 2004 election manifesto, the Congress had promised to regularize all slums built before 2000.
Singh said the Chief Minister made the promise in a meeting with legislators from the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party. Chavan could not be reached for his comments. His Principal Secretary Swadhin Kshatriya declined comment.
An estimated 65 per cent of the city’s population lives in slums. They constitute the major vote-bank for all political parties. Urban development expert Chandrashekhar Prabhu said the government should fix a final cut-off date and wondered whether this date would be extended further in future. “There should be some sanctity to government action,” he said.
The city already faces water and power shortages, and its transport and drainage systems — like its housing — are inadequate.