150 shanties in Govandi’s Chheda Nagar razed | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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150 shanties in Govandi’s Chheda Nagar razed

Jun 25, 2024 07:04 AM IST

The demolition drive which was carried out by the Collector’s office left scores of families with their little children stranded among the rubble. Demolitions began at around 12 noon, with most residents claiming they hadn’t been given notice

Mumbai: As tearful residents of Govandi’s shanty town in Chheda Nagar watched, bulldozers tore down nearly 150 of 250 homes made of tin, wood and brick walls on Monday.

Mumbai, India. June 24, 2024: A large slum in the Govandi area of Mumbai was demolished by BMC and Collector officials without notice during the monsoon, leaving more than 1000 families homeless after a major demolition drive. June 24, 2024. (Photo by Raju Shinde/HT Photo)
Mumbai, India. June 24, 2024: A large slum in the Govandi area of Mumbai was demolished by BMC and Collector officials without notice during the monsoon, leaving more than 1000 families homeless after a major demolition drive. June 24, 2024. (Photo by Raju Shinde/HT Photo)

The demolition drive which was carried out by the Collector’s office left scores of families with their little children stranded among the rubble. Demolitions began at around 12 noon, with most residents claiming they hadn’t been given notice.

“Despite the Maharashtra government’s GR dated June 29, 2021, that prohibits demolitions in the monsoon months between June and September, the homes were razed,” said Shubham Kothari from the Jan Haq Sangharsh Samiti, a people’s collective.

“A public notice was pasted at one side of the plot, but even that is no longer there. So when one person from our group, Yashodhara, posed questions about the demolitions to the officials and the other women were just sitting around, the police picked them up.”

Kothari added, “Above that, there is a code of conduct still in place in Mumbai due to the teacher and graduate constituency elections till June 26. Despite violating the government’s own rules, they are taking action on others.”

Kothari explained that while part of the plot has slum dwellers that have been living there for 20 years or more, the other half of it has residents that are relatively newer, living there for 3 to 4 years. As the houses get demolished frequently, the residents change.

While only half the houses were demolished, some of them by the older residents, the rest have been told their homes will be demolished on Tuesday.

“For now, the residents are still there beside the plot with their belongings, sleeping in the open,” said Kothari.

An official from the Collector’s office said, “These were illegal slum dwellers on state government land and the buffer zone of mangroves against whom we have had many complaints for a while. As they are illegal, their houses will have to be demolished.”

When asked about the state government GR prohibiting demolitions between the monsoon months of June and September, he did not have a response. The remaining houses will be demolished on Tuesday, he agreed.

An official from the forest department who was present on the spot said, “We were there as part of the demolitions, as this area falls in the buffer zone of mangroves.”

Senior inspector Deepak Bagul of the Tilak Nagar police station said, “There was a group of people who were opposing the demotion drive carried out by the Collector. Police protection was provided as per the rule and 13 people were detained from the site on Sunday evening for 24 hours. They were released on Monday after warning that they will not obstruct government work.”

One member of the JHSS evening was also detained, whose phone was forcefully formatted by the police, claimed Kothari.

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