Thane Municipal Corporation to raze hutments at Parsik tunnel in three days
Mumbai city news: The residents had demanded that the demolition should take place through the court. They had refused to accept the notice from the forest department, TMC and railways and demanded the court intervenes.mumbai Updated: Jul 05, 2017 23:53 IST
Inhabitants of hutments perched atop Parsik tunnel have withdrawn their petition against the authorities after the Bombay high court assured them that they will be rehabilitated. The Thane Municipal Corporation now plans to demolish eight houses in the next three days.
Civic commissioner Sanjeev Jaiswal had already assured the residents permanent homes. After the corporation gave the assurance in court, the residents withdrew the petition on July 3. A civic official said, “We will conduct the demolition drive by the end of this week. These residents will be given accommodation in rental homes for the first three months till the permanent BSUP homes are ready. The rent will also be paid by the government till the residents are allotted permanent homes.”
The residents had demanded that the demolition should take place through the court. They had refused to accept the notice from the forest department, TMC and railways and demanded the court intervenes. The residents claim to have won the rehabilitation battle against the corporation.
Sangeeta Palekar, a resident who moved the court, said, “Our only demand was that the process should happen through the court. We had told the court that we wanted to be rehabilitated first and only then we will vacate our homes. The court has assured that we will get permanent homes and we have withdrawn our petition.”
The TMC, railways and forest department had issued evacuation notices to 80 homes above the Parsik tunnel and the demolition drive was supposed to be held on June 28. The residents however challenged this decision claiming that there is no clarity on the rehabilitation policy.
Last year, a retaining wall above the tunnel caved in disrupting train services. The railways approached the Bombay high court to seek its intervention on the action against encroachers.
The civic official added, “We have distributed 87 house keys in Mumbra and Kalwa areas of Parsik in the last week of June. Most of the people have already shifted and the remaining will shift soon. Post monsoon we will also have to demolish the remaining 100 to 150 structures.”
In June 2016, the retaining wall on the hillock above the Parsik tunnel collapsed. The debris fell on the railway track, disrupting the train services. Fortunately, no train was passing from the tunnel and a major disaster was averted. The tunnel cuts right through Parsik hill and is an important link for the Central Railway’s suburban and long-distance lines.
The case so far
On June 21, 2016 a portion of the road and a wall in Uday Nagar area above Parsik tunnel had caved in. There are around 100 to 200 hutments in the area.
Though it is under forest department’s jurisdiction, the TMC agreed to demolish the hutments. But, the residents went to court claiming that the TMC had no right to demolish their homes as it is in forest area
Few months ago, the Central Railway filed a petition in the Bombay high court blaming the TMC for not taking action. The TMC said that they were not authorised to do so
The forest department also went to the HC demanding that the hutments be vacated before monsoon
Apart from Parsik tunnel, there are two more such spots along railway tracks — Waghoba Nagar and Parsik Nagar — which are landslide-prone
Commuters’ unions too had demanded that the slums be demolished
In the end of July, the three authorities came together and served notices to residents to vacate the structures and also promised alternate homes in rental scheme
The residents moved the court to demand permanent homes and not rental ones
The civic commissioner assured that the rental homes will be given only for three months after which the residents will be shifted to permanent BSUP homes.
The residents finally withdrew their petition on July 3.