A day after chief minister Prithiviraj Chavan scrapped two slum rehabilitation projects approved under a controversial section of the Maharashtra Slum Areas Act, residents affected by the Golibar redevelopment project – the first project to be brought under the section 3K(1) – demanded that their project be scrapped too.
On Thursday, Chavan scrapped two slum redevelopment projects, in Chembur and Malad, approved by his predecessor, Ashok Chavan.
Social activist Medha Patakar, who has been leading slum dwellers in their fight against state government authorities, said, “The decision to scrap the two projects is very good. I am also sure that projects in Golibar and Antop Hill will be scrapped too, as there are several irregularities in both the projects.”
Under the section 3K(1) of the Maharashtra Slum Areas Act, 1971, the state can directly award the project to a developer without acquiring the consent of 70% of the slum dwellers, a mandatory requirement under other slum rehabilitation projects.
“We have been demanding that our project be scrapped for a long time. We will write to the chief minister about our grievances,” said Ajit Gavkhadkar, a resident of the Ganeshkripa society in Golibar area.
Simpreet Singh of the National Alliance of People’s Movement, who had been fighting for the rights of Golibar’s slum dwellers, said, “We met the chief minister four times and each time we drew his attention to the 3K(1) section, which unjustifiably favours developers.”
In August 2008, the state government approved the Golibar redevelopment project under section 3K(1) of the Maharashtra Slum Areas Act. It allowed Shivalik Ventures to undertake the redevelopment of 140 acres of land in the Golibar area of Khar and Santacruz.
Residents of the area, through the Right To Information Act, found that the developer had obtained their consent by forging their signatures. They protested against the deception, the Act and the developer.
Shivalik Ventures, however, denied charges of forgery. It maintains that the signatures were genuine and that all legal procedures were duly complied with.