Biometric survey for SRA scheme begins in Navi Mumbai slums
A biometric survey of slums in Navi Mumbai has begun, with around 50,000 slum dwellers expected to benefit from the implementation of the SRA scheme for rehabilitation. The survey will account for hutments existing prior to January 2000, which will receive free homes, and those up to January 2011, which will be eligible for homes on payment. The slum improvement board chairman said that slum dwellers will receive free permanent homes, while MIDC and CIDCO will have more space for development. However, not everyone is welcoming the scheme, with some claiming it is a political ploy to favour the builder lobby.
Biometric survey of slums in Navi Mumbai for the purpose of implementation of SRA scheme for rehabilitation of slum dwellers was initiated on Thursday. Around 50,000 slum dwellers are expected to benefit by getting proper houses under the scheme.
The survey by MMR SRA officials came following the instructions of industries minister Uday Samant last month who gave in principle approval for the implementation of SRA in Navi Mumbai.
Said Vijay Nahata, chairman of Mumbai Slum Improvement Board, who had followed up on the issue, “The slum colonies located from Digha to Nerul Shivaji Nagar area that fall under MIDC jurisdiction will all benefit from the scheme.”
He added, “The prayers of thousands of slum dwellers have finally been answered by this government led by Eknath Shinde. They will get free permanent homes while MIDC and CIDCO will get more space for development due to the additional FSI that will be available.”
The survey began in Chinchpada area of Airoli which is a stronghold of Shiv Sena Navi Mumbai chief Vijay Chougule. He organized a special programme on the occasion to apprise the slum dwellers of the process and assured them all help. The officials from SRA Thane-I explained to the slum dwellers how the scheme will benefit them by getting homes and upgrading their standard of living.
According to tehsildar Kishore Shetty, “The survey will account for the hutments of slum dwellers existing from pre January 2000, which have been given protection under the law and will get free homes. We will also cover hutments of up to January 1, 2011 which will be eligible for homes on payment.”
Giving details of the survey, he said, “The surveyors will go door to door numbering the houses, following which their areas will be measured. We will take fingerprints and photographs of those residing in those houses through the biometric system. A photograph of the entire family standing in front of their houses, will also be taken along with videography of the location of the house. We will also be collecting proof of stay in the present house of the slum dwellers.”
Welcoming the survey, Chougule said, “For years we have been demanding implementation of the scheme similar to that implemented in Mumbai. It has been made possible thanks to CM Eknath Shinde and minister Uday Samant.”
He added, “Now our people will also get free houses and better living conditions that they have been yearning for. We have asked them to submit all their documents proving their stay here. Wherever they face difficulties, we have assured them that we shall extend all help.”
Stated Chougule, “A large number of IT companies are coming in the area which is becoming an IT hub. The presence of slums next to them does not reflect well on the city which is making huge strides. We are working towards a slum-free Navi Mumbai.”
The slum dwellers are hoping for an early implementation of the scheme. Said Harshal Ratnaparkhi, a Chinchpada slum dweller, “Who doesn’t want to live in a proper flat with amenities. Our parents have lived a difficult life, we want better living conditions for us.”
He added, “One just hopes that the documentation process is not tedious and the scheme is implemented at the earliest for our dreams to materialize.”
Not everyone is welcoming the scheme though. Said former mayor Sudhakar Sonawane, who has much influence in the Rabale slum area, “This is only a political jumla to mislead people every time there is an election. This is only a ploy to fill some pockets of vested interests and favour the builder lobby.”
He claimed, “Houses have been constructed under the scheme in several areas of Mumbai, just check what is their condition and have the slums gone away? In Andheri, people have to carry water filled vessels several floors to their homes. The lifts are not working, the buildings are in a pathetic state as the poor people cannot maintain these high rises.”
Demanded Sonawane, “The slum dwellers should be given the land at market rate and we should have the right to develop it. We will get loans at subsidized rates from banks to finance. We will choose the developer and construct homes ourselves.”
Said Dwarkanath Bhoir, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader, “There are still a number of unanswered questions on the scheme implementation. What about those who settled after 2000. What FSI will be given, the roads, schools, playgrounds, amenities etc? There is a lot of confusion still.”
Dismissing the opposition, Shiv Sena leader Kishore Patkar said, “The demand is not at all practical. How can the poor people afford to pay for the land at market price? The SRA scheme is very transparent and there is a process to choose the developer through a tender process.”
He added, “All calculations are made for the maintenance requirement of the buildings and funds are given to the society for it by the developer as per the scheme. Such development will only be possible if the project is feasible for the developer. It has to be a win-win situation for all otherwise it will not happen. Let the poor have an opportunity to upgrade their life.”