Seven firms that own around 600 acres in Mumbai have been asked to resettle the slum dwellers existing on their plots within three months, failing which the slum rehabilitation authority (SRA) plans to forcibly acquire the land.
Based on the directions issued by Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, the SRA has sent notices to Byramjee Jeejeebhoy Private Ltd, AH Wadia Charitable Trust, FE Dinshaw Trust, Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Company Ltd, Wadia Charitable Trust, HK Nanwani and Sir Pratapsingh Mathuradas.
The notices, a copy of which is with Hindustan Times, state the companies will have to submit an undertaking expressing their desire to carry out the rehabilitation of the slums, if they wish to retain the right over the land.
If not, the SRA will have the right to acquire the land and start the rehabilitation process. In such a scenario, the owners will lose their right over the plot and will be paid rent of the land for 60 months, according to the established acquisition procedure.
Although it has asked the private owners to speed up the resettlement process, the government is considering hiking the compensation offered in case of acquisition to 25% of the value of the land stated in the ready reckoner. Consequently, though at the cost of their land, the acquisition by the SRA may actually prove to be a lucrative option for the companies.
“According to the Maharashtra Slum Act, private owners are supposed to guard their plots from encroachment. If slums come up on the land, it is their responsibility to provide them with amenities. The owners have failed on both counts,” said an SRA official, on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorized to speak to the media.
SRA CEO Aseem Gupta said the authority will wait for the land owners for three months.
“The CM has been clear that if we don’t get a response from the owners within the stipulated period, we will come up with a rehabilitation scheme and execute it soon,” he said.