At least 1,300 shanties were gutted in Friday night’s inferno at Garib Nagar in Bandra (East), severely affecting over 1,300 families. Over a dozen were injured while many of them were rendered homeless, with all their belongings and important documents — relevant identification and verification proofs — reduced to ashes in the blaze.
With nothing left with in their possession to authenticate their identity, hapless slum dwellers are now worried about their rehabilitation. When the government approaches them to survey their losses, they would be required to produce these documents to prove that they resided in Garib Nagar and were affected by Friday’s mishap.
“We have lost all our documents — electricity bill, ration cards, etc. — in the fire. How will the government identify real victims and affected residents now? Some government authorities are conducting survey in the area, but many of us are not counted. We are completely unaware of the process that will be followed for our identification,” said Junaid Dalvi, resident of Garib Nagar.
Another resident of Garib Nagar said, “The government can rely on its own record to provide relief to those affected.”
Guardian minister of suburban Mumbai, Mohammad Arif Naseem Khan said, “The chief minister has appointed two committees for verification and rehabilitation of the slum dwellers. One committee comprises higher authorities from the Railways and corporation, and headed by the chief secretary will decide how and where these slum dwellers should be rehabilitated. The other committee will be headed by me and will include the local Member of Parliament and Member of Legislative Assembly. We will be doing this as soon as possible. There is no time period given.”