With an eye on the upcoming civic polls, the state government on Monday amended the eligibility criteria for slum dwellers in the city. It has now termed even those slum dwellers who have moved into the city after 1995 as valid occupiers, and hence contenders for its free housing scheme.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan announced yesterday that he had approved amendment to development control rules 33(10) which will give protection to pre-1995 slum structures as opposed to people living prior to 1995.
This will entitle even those who have migrated to the city after 1995, but have acquired a pre-1995 slum through transfer deed, for a free home of around 300 sq feet as per the state’s slum housing policies.
Nearly 80 lakh people (or 60% of the population) live in slums in Mumbai, according to the 2011 census.
According to preliminary estimates by the state, around 30 to 40% of slum dwellers stand to get free homes as a result of this amendment. Officials said at least an additional two lakh families, and 10 lakh people, stand to benefit from this decision.
“If one goes by the eligibility criteria of allowing only those who have been living in slums before 1995, then only 30 to 35% of slum dwellers are eligible for free housing. This change in norms will rehabilitate more slum dwellers,” said Chavan.
The Congress state party leadership has been lobbying hard to get the slum cut-off extended to 2000, as promised by the party in its election manifesto.
However, the government failed to do this as the high court had ruled against such an extension. Legislators belonging to the ruling alliance then suggested this amendment as an alternative.
Chavan added that the government was working out norms and guidelines to select eligible post-1995 slum dwellers. They will be asked to pay a nominal transfer fee in the range of Rs 20,000 to Rs 40,000.
“To ensure the slum dwellers are not put up by builders, we will verify whether they have been living in that structure for at least one year by looking at power bills etc. The benefit will not be available to sub-tenants but to those in whose name the slum has been transferred,” said Sachin Ahir, minister of state for housing.
He added that the government was trying to ensure that this norm was applicable even to projects that had been granted Letter of Intent by the government, in a bid to get maximum urban poor in the free housing net.