It may be a case of too little, too late for the 2.5 lakh former mill workers of Girangaon, who went on strike 28 years ago for a better tomorrow.
The state's public housing scheme that promised homes for mill workers' families in the city will fall short of the mark because only 10,000 houses are ready so far.
It may also not allot homes to genuine beneficiaries because of lack of reliable data that can prove they were mill workers.
As a way out, the state is looking at a cut-off date as the eligibility criteria to allot homes.
Chief Secretary, J P Dange, set up a sub-committee of bureaucrats from the Urban Development, Housing and Labour departments on Friday to work out the eligibility criteria to rehabilitate mill workers. It has been asked to submit report on the criteria by June.
The sub-committee has decided to ask mill workers' associations to fix a date after 1982 as the cut-off date to reduce the number of eligible mill workers.
"There is no way we can accommodate 2 lakh workers," a bureaucrat admitted. "Mill workers' associations will have to decide some cut-off date."
The state will then hold a lottery by October like the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) does to allot homes to 10,000 mill workers.
The government has promised that it can provide homes to 55,000 mill workers provided mill owners release land that is due to MHADA for workers' housing.
Officials say even the figure of 55,000 is a tall order considering mill owners are not keen on releasing any land.
The other big challenge is to ascertain genuine mill workers' families.
"We don't know how to ascertain genuine beneficiaries because there is no reliable data on mill workers' families. Majority of them have migrated or moved to far-flung suburbs in the past two decades," a labour department official said.
Even as the 24-storey tower at Swadeshi Mills in Kurla gets ready to accommodate the first lot of mill workers in May, the state government has no idea whom it will allot these homes to and how.
"We have information on how many workers were on the rolls in mills in 1981, 1991 and 2001 through labour department records. But, that's it. We will fill this data and then call for applications through newspapers from genuine mill workers' families,'' the official said.
After Dange okays the sub-committee's report, a committee of officials and mill workers' associations will be set up to ascertain genuine beneficiaries.