High drama ensued as 19 houses of Khar’s Ganeshkripa Society – whose residents had written to the Chief Minister to stop the razing – were forcibly demolished for redevelopment by the collector’s office on Thursday.
The attempt to prevent the razing by social activists Medha Patkar and Vivek Pandit was thwarted by the detention of the two with 60 others till the completion of demolition.
The high court had ordered for the demolition and shifting in September last year. Prashant Bagade, senior police inspector, Nirmal Nagar police station said, “We detained Patkar for unlawful assembly and for restraining a public servant from doing his duty but she was released later.”
In the scuffle that occurred between the residents and the policemen, two persons including a woman were injured. “Not demolishing, would have been a contempt of court.
Since people were strongly protesting, we had to force. Our action will continue till all the 126 structures are not demolished,” said P Rokade, deputy collector.
The cluster development of this area is being carried out by developer Shivalik Ventures under section 3k of Slum Rehabilitation Act. According to residents, the developer has not provided them with any registered agreements and had also forged the documents.
The transit camps provided were filthy. “We are being provided with unregistered agreements on stamp papers. We cannot trust them,” said resident Dutta Mane.
Replying to the allegation Prakash Azgaonkar of Shivalik Ventures said, “One developer can sign only five agreements in the collector’s office in a day. Owing to the time factor, it is practically impossible to give registered agreements. No SRA projects provide individual agreements.”
Residents have also alleged that they were approached by some people and asked to sign some papers forcefully during the demolition on Thursday.
“Some unknown people asked us to sign some papers saying that they have been sent by Medha Patkar. But, we did not sign,” said Savita Tandekar, a resident. “We will protest against this atrocity of the government. If need arises, we would go on a hunger strike,” said Medha Patkar.