The state government has confirmed that the Garib Nagar slums in Bandra (East) belongs to the railways. A fire that broke out on March 4 gutted more than 1,000 shanties, rendering 2,000 families homeless. The railway foot overbridge over the slum was also damaged.
The issue of ownership of the land was mired in controversy with the state government and the railways passing the buck. This hampered the rehabilitation of those affected by fire.
"The railways will be shortly developing the damaged bridge since the land belongs to them," minister of state for urban development Bhaskar Jadhav told the Legislative Council on Thursday.
The issue of rehabilitation for Garib Nagar slumdwellers was raised by member of legislative council Hussain Dalwai, who asked if there was any different reason for such a fire to break out. "There have been fire incidents in the area before. It has been alleged that there has been a deliberate attempt to destroy the area to redevelop it," Dalwai said.
Jadhav ruled out any case of sabotage saying a case was lodged, but nothing conclusive had come out so far.
Talking to the Hindustan Times over the issue of redevelopment of Garib Nagar, minister of state for housing Sachin Ahir said there was still no clarity in the matter. "But we are planning to write to the Centre and asking them on whether we [the state government and the railways] can come together and do something on the issue," Ahir said.