The Bombay High Court on Thursday told the state government not to proceed with a Slum Rehabilitation Project on a protected mangrove area in Dahisar.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan had directed expediting the project. Acting on a Public Interest Litigation, the court directed the City Survey Office, Borivli, not to hand over the reports of survey conducted by it to ascertain the eligibility of slumdwellers.
The PIL was filed by New Link Road Residents’ Forum seeking protection of the mangrove areas near Ganpat Patil Nagar at Dahisar.
On Thursday, the petitioner’s lawyer Y.S. Jahagirdar told the court that three days ago the group got information under Right to Information Act. It was learnt that Chief Minister Ashok Chavan in February directed the City Survey Office to complete a survey of slumdwellers within 15 days.
Housing Department secretary Sitaram Kunte had also obtained a written undertaking from the City Survey Officer, Borivli, that survey would be completed within the time stipulated by the Chief Minister and without charging any fees. The survey is the first step to undertake a slum rehabilitation scheme.
The replies also reveal that the episode was started by a Congress corporator, Sheetal Mhatre, who had taken initiative to get the private land declared as an official slum, and to ensure that SRA project is taken up for rehabilitation of more than 6,000 slumdwellers.
The replies reveal that the local corporator had made an allegedly false representation to the authorities that the owner of the 1,500-acre plot, Dnyaneshwar Samant, had gone missing.