Hindustan Times’ reports on the plight of tribals in Mumbai have opened the state government’s eyes to the abysmal living conditions of the city’s original inhabitants.
Tribal Welfare Minister Vijay Kumar Gavit has directed Additional Tribal Commissioner PD Karvande to coordinate with the agencies — the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, the Aarey Colony administration and Reliance Energy — that are responsible for providing basic infrastructure to tribals.
He has also asked Karvande to submit a report on how the problems of the tribals can be addressed.
The minister had earlier alleged that the agencies would promise to act but later come up with excuses for not doing so.
“I have told them (the agencies) that if an issue can be resolved on the spot they should go ahead and do it,” said Gavit.
“I am going to give them the time by which they should implement the plan for these tribals or else I will initiate action against the officials concerned,” he added.
HT had run a four-part series, starting June 1, highlighting the pathetic living conditions of the tribals residing in Aarey Colony, Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Gorai and Mulund. The tribals in these areas — mostly Warlis and Malhar Kolis — have little or no access to drinking water, electricity or medical facilities.
The minister has also asked the civic body for an account of the money spent on the tribals. He plans to hold the next meeting on the issue by July 2 after seeing Karvande’s report.
Karvande said he had conducted meetings with tribals of Aarey and Sanjay Gandhi National Park and officials on June 17. “I am awaiting certain documents and will meet them again in a couple of days,” said Karvande. Gavit has also asked Karvande to hold talks with the State Reserve Police Force following complaints from tribals living on the SRPF camp premises in Goregaon that the security agency had objected to providing water and electricity connections to the hamlet.