Around 5,000 slumdwellers, led by social activist Medha Patkar, marched in protest on Tuesday from the August Kranti Maidan to Azad Maidan against the builder lobby, the alleged forgery in the Golibar rehabilitation project and for the implementation of Centre’s Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY).
The protestors had submitted a letter to the CM stating their demands on March 23. Stating that chief minister Prithviraj Chavan had still not taken any firm action on these demands, a delegation of nine members, including Patkar, met Chavan on Tuesday.
“The demands were not taken seriously, even though we had submitted the letter more than 10 days ago. The CM said he is still looking into the forgery case connected to the Golibar redevelopment project. There was no firm stand taken by him,” said Patkar. In the case, residents of Ganeshkripa Society at Golibar slums in Khar had alleged that their builder, Shivalik Ventures, had forged their signatures in the documents regarding consent for redevelopment.
RAY gives the slum dwellers the power to develop their slums. Currently, the Slum rehabilitation Authority, considers January 1, 1995 as the cut-off date for eligibility under the slum rehabilitation scheme. This means residents who began living in slums post this date are declared ‘ineligible’ to get a permanent accommodation under the scheme. RAY on the contrary does not consider a cut-off date.
Signatures of 16,000-17,000 slum dwellers giving consent to RAY were presented before Chavan.
“The CM told us the implementation of RAY has been delayed because of the parliamentary session and elections. He said the city will not be deprived of the scheme,” said housing activist Simpreet Singh who was part of the delegation.