The Mumbai airport could miss the 2014 deadline for building the new terminal that would integrate the domestic and international terminals, owing to a delay in rehabilitating slum dwellers living around the airport.
Last week, the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) expressed concerns over the delay to chief minister Prithviraj Chavan. MIAL is building an X-shaped integrated terminal at Sahar. According to the master plan, one arm of the integrated terminal cannot be completed on schedule because the land is occupied by hutments.
The project to rehabilitate slum dwellers living along the periphery of the airport began almost three years ago. However, the survey to identify the number of slum dwellers eligible for rehabilitation is yet to be completed.
Thus, a large number of slum dwellers are still unsure if they are eligible to get an alternative house under the government’s rehabilitation policy.
In the absence of any official communication, at least 2,300 hutment dwellers have filed applications to know their status under the Right to Information Act to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).
The MMRDA — the nodal agency for the project — has refused to share information on the project with the slum dwellers.
“We are only a facilitator. People should approach the state government for information,” said Rahul Asthana, MMRDA metropolitan commissioner.
Asthana said that hutments built before January 1, 2000, are eligible for rehabilitation.
However, some of the pre-2000 hutments were subsequently sold to new owners. “The government is yet to decide the eligibility of those people who bought houses built before January 1, 2000, after the cut-off date,” said Asthana.