The Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) razed nearly 3,000 illegal hutments on the Mafatlal Compound in Kalwa (East), on Monday.
The corporation had filed an FIR after an official was prevented from performing his duty.
Fearing riots, there was heavy police security during the demolition drive. More than 500 policemen were deployed in the area.
“The illegal hutments had come up in the last two months. We had received a request from the court receiver to demolish the slums. Mafatlal company owners had taken some loan from a bank, which they didn't repay on time. The company had mortgaged the land for the same,” said B.G. Pawar, deputy municipal commissioner (anti-encroachment).
“The bank approached the high court some five years ago to take possession of the land. The matter is still pending in court. The land is under the possession of the court receiver,” added Pawar.
Hutments have encroached more than 50 per cent of the 265 acres, of which 65 acres belongs to the government, said Pawar.
Officials said that many of these huts were sold illegally by RPI leader Ramatai Pujari for Rs 70,000 each. Pujari was killed on Saturday.
But the slumdwellers claimed that they have been residing in the area for the last fifteen years.
“We have the survey number, ration card, election card and everything. We are facing these problems because of some new hutments that have come up in the last month or so,” said Deepak Salve (38), a rickshaw driver.
“We were not even given a day’s notice. Where will we go now?” added Salve.
But Pawar refuted this allegation. “We had followed all the procedures and given them notices well in advance. They are all anti-social elements, some from Kurla and other areas, who have been externed,”said Pawar.
The TMC had carried out such a demolition in 2003 where 2,100 huts were demolished.