Day One: 457 shanties razed in Thane | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Day One: 457 shanties razed in Thane

The Thane district collector and municipal corporation on Wednesday began a major demolition drive in Kalwa, Shil in Daighar and Balkum in Thane (West) following the high court order.

mumbai Updated: Oct 07, 2010 02:10 IST

The Thane district collector and municipal corporation on Wednesday began a major demolition drive in Kalwa, Shil in Daighar and Balkum in Thane (West) following the high court order.

On Day 1, 287 illegal structures were razed in Kalwa, 100 in Balkum and 70 in Shil.
“Of the 457 structures demolished, 87 were commercial ones and the rest residential. We have given priority to post-2000 structures and have identified 10,000 such structures in the taluka,” said tehsildar Krishna Jadhav, who overlooked the Kalwa demolitions.

The high court had convened a high-powered committee, headed by headed by the chief secretary, to remove all encroachments from public land after hearing a public interest litigation filed by NGO Harit Vasai Sanrakshan Samiti seeking to demolish illegal constructions in the Vasai-Virar belt.

There are more than two lakh encroachments on public land in Thane district, of which more than 18,000 structures, mostly commercial ones, have been demolished since January.

Residents of Sainathnagar slums in Kalwa claimed they had been living in Thane for nearly 14 years but had been shifting houses over the years. Hence, they will not be protected under the Maharashtra Slum Areas (Improvement, Clearance, Redevelopment) Act because they will not be considered among the pre-1995 slumdwellers.

“We had come here from Kilhari village in search of work. Initially, we lived at Bhakti Mandir Marg on Panchpakhadi, but were asked to shift because of road-widening work. We are displaced every six months. How will we produce proof of our existence if we are displaced often?” asked Satyakala.

At Mahalaxminagar chawl in Dadlani Par (Balkum), residents claimed they did not get any notices. “The chawl came up a few years back. Two years back, we bought this house for Rs 3.5 lakh from my mother’s savings. We don’t know where we will go now?” said Mahendra Badge (25).

Narendra Bhoir, another resident, said: “It is the municipal corporation’s fault. They provided us water supply and electricity and now they want to demolish our houses?”

Office superintendent (sub-divisional office) Dinesh Paithankar said they had issued three notices. “We had demolished these structures twice earlier but they return,” he added.