Every mill worker from Mumbai will get a home, says Fadnavis
While 2,634 workers got houses on the land, where their mills once stood, the next lottery of 2,418 houses will be held after two monthsmumbai Updated: May 10, 2016 00:38 IST
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday said his government would ensure every mill worker in Mumbai gets a house in the next few years.
The chief minister was at the inauguration of a housing lottery for mill workers. While 2,634 workers got houses on the land, where their mills once stood, the next lottery of 2,418 houses will be held after two months.
Acknowledging the role of mill workers in building the metropolis, the CM said it was payback time. “The mill owners made a lot of money selling the land, while the workers got nothing. Now, they will become owners of the houses built on the mill land. In the coming development plan (DP), there is a thrust on affordable houses. We will ensure various sections such as mill workers get a share [in it],” Fadnavis said.
The mills workers are charged Rs9.50 lakh for these houses. For years, mill workers’ associations have been demanding free houses on grounds that workers have retired and have no source of income.
Their argument was they should be given houses for free, just like illegal slum dwellers. However, the government shot down the proposal. “They are getting houses at a very low price, considering the rates in prime areas,” said housing minister Prakash Mehta.
Mumbai had flourishing textile mills occupying prime land in the island city in the 1980s. A strike by millworkers’ union, demanding a hike in wages, in 1982 and the stiff stand taken by the mill owners dealt a blow to the mills, destroying the livelihood of lakhs of workers. The government then decided to reserve some portion of the plots for affordable housing and open spaces.
Eknath Nimbhalkar, 66, who worked with the Western India Mills in Kalachowkie, said he hadn’t imagined he would own a house in Mumbai. “It is like a dream come true,” said Nimbhalkar, who moved to Satara after the mill was shut.