By now, the island city’s pavements should have been clean, encroachment-free and beautiful but the project is stuck because the civic body claims it does not have space to relocate squatters.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was to remove and rehabilitate 25,000 slum dwellers settled on the island city’s pavements, under the Mahatma Gandhi Path Kranti Yojna by December 2009, but it has not cleared even 10 per cent of these slums.
“The municipal corporation has surveyed and identified 72 pavements to be made encroachment-free but only five have been cleared in the last three to four years,” said a civic official requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media.
So far, the municipal corporation has partially cleared PD’Mello Road, Senapati Bapat Marg, Barrister Nath Pai Road, R.A. Kidwai Road and Zakaria Bunder Road.
“Of the 25,000 slums located on pavements in the island city, only 2,300 dwellers have been rehabilitated. The rest of the work is stuck because there aren’t enough tenements to rehabilitate people,” said an official from the Parel ward office from where the project is being coordinated.
He added that the municipal corporation has asked the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) for this.
The state government has appointed Deputy Municipal Commissioner Dr Kishor Kshirsagar as project manager.
Kshirsagar has to coordinate with the MMRDA and the state government. He was not available for comments despite several attempts.
The MMRDA, however, said tenements are not an issue.
“We have already given the municipal corporation tenements three to four times for this project and tenements are available with the MMRDA,” said Dilip Kawathkar, joint project director of the MMRDA.
The state government declared the scheme and appointed the municipal corporation as the implementing authority in 2006. It involved clearing pavements of slums, cleaning, repairing and beautifying them and securing them with guards within a specified time frame.
The state had fixed deadlines for each phase of the project, starting from the survey of slums, and the deadline for the entire project to be completed was December 31, 2009.
Rahul Shewale, chairman of the BMC’s Standing Committee, said, “If the project is good for the city, I will take this issue up with the municipal commissioner.”