Residents of the city’s century-old Gaothans decided to spread the message of awakening and to speak up against civic injustice that the community faces on Sunday.
From the imposition of property taxes through the new capital value-based system to the lack of basic infrastructure, difficulty in seeking permissions for undertaking basic repair work and the declaration of several erstwhile East Indian villages as ‘slums’ - local inhabitants have chosen Easter as the occasion to approach officials of several erstwhile East Indian villages.
In order to preserve its culture amidst rapid urbanisation, the community is also trying to seek permissions for setting up food stalls and a mobile museum in the city.
Over the past few days, the Panchayat has also been sending text messages and emails asking locals to write to concerned state and civic officials, enlisting their infrastructure problems. Once written, the Panchayat will submit the letters to the chief minister, municipal commissioner and mayor.
“We are in dire need to maintain and develop ourselves as a community. Besides associating the celebrations with Easter festivities, we also wanted to use it as a platform to voice our concerns and build pressure on concerned government authorities,” said Gleason Barretto, who lives in the Kurla gaothan. “We have demanded separate systems of taxation and better living conditions.”
At present, over six lakh residents live in the 187 gaothans in the city, a majority of which are occupied by East Indians and Kolis (fisherfolk), the original inhabitants of Mumbai.