More than 30,000 slum dwellers from Kalwa hit the streets to protest against the demolition of illegal structures along the Kalwa creek by the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC). The protestors were led by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLA Jitendra Awhad, who alleged that the TMC was targeting only slums in Kalwa.
The demolition of slums in Shastrinagar, Janaki Nagar and Jai Bheem Nagar has become fodder for a major showdown between the ruling combine and the opposition party in the last few days. While demolition was opposed by the NCP, the ruling Shiv Sena-BJP combine passed a resolution to demolish illegal structures after rehabilitation the residents. The ruling was passed during a general body meet, which overruled the stay brought in by the NCP two weeks ago.
Awhad alleged that the ruling Sena-BJP corporators are “chamchas” of the administration. He even asked people not to vote for such corporators who have passed resolution to bulldoze homes of the slum dwellers. The protestors blocked all the four roads at Kalwa Naka, bringing the traffic to a standstill.
Awhad said, “Around 72% population in Thane resides in illegal buildings, including slums. A few years ago, when the question of demolition of slums in Wagale Estate cropped up, NCP leader Sharad Pawar himself assured that there will be no action against the slums in Thane. Moreover, despite the stay in legislative council, how can the ruling party pass the resolution in the TMC house to demolish the slums?”
He alleged that the law for Wagle Estate, Lokmanya Nagar and Kisannagar is different than that for Kalwa. He claimed that the ruling party did not think about rehabilitation of these people before passing this proposal.