Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Mumbai Port Trust tenants facing eviction turn to Congress, Sena candidates
Several tenants who live or run businesses between Wadala and Colaba have received eviction notices from MbPT, citing that the lease period is over, or there are outstanding dues in rent.
With their ten-point agenda, tenants of Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) area who will be affected by the east coast redevelopment plan, are approaching both Shiv Sena and Congress Lok Sabha candidates from Mumbai South constituency, seeking poll promises to save their homes and businesses.
Several tenants who live or run businesses between Wadala and Colaba have received eviction notices from MbPT, citing that the lease period is over, or there are outstanding dues in rent. The area, spread across 1,800 acres, houses lakhs of residential buildings and small-scale commercial establishments.
About 22 residents and businessmen associations from Colaba, Cuff Parade, Carnac Bunder, Ballad Estate, and Mazgaon areas met the Mumbai Congress president and the party’s candidate from Mumbai South constituency Milind Deora on Tuesday, and expressed their demands seeking his help to resolve the issues. Similarly, at a meeting with Shiv Sena Member of Parliament (MP) Arvind Sawant on Monday, many businessmen and residents of slum pockets in Darukhana area near Mazgaon sought Sena support.
Aditi Jain from Cuff Parade resident’s association said, “About one lakh tenants have received eviction notices so far, with dues ranging anywhere between Rs1 crore and Rs35 crore or more.” The tenants believe that they are facing eviction to facilitate MbPT’s ambitious plan to revamp the east coast.
Among their demands are renewal of the lease up to 2024, with a 4% annual increase in rent amount, withdrawal of all eviction or termination of lease notices, abolishing the land policy act (which gives ports across the country the freedom to develop their land), and involve MbPT tenants in the redevelopment project. Ashok Garg, a member of the Darukhana Association said, “The government has not consulted us about the development of the land we live on, or earn our livelihood from. We have approached the Congress party candidate Milind Deora without concerns.”
Similarly, Pervez Cooper, a businessmen who owned a warehouse at Colaba but had to evict it in 2015 said, “Since I am already aggrieved, I can speak for all the remaining tenants. We are facing uncertainty in our own premises. We are also tax-paying citizens.We vote for our leaders and do not expect these same leaders to throw us out after they have been elected.” Cooper had earlier approached Sawant with his demands. On Tuesday, he was part of the group which met Deora on Tuesday.
In response, Milind Deora said, “We will solve the issue of MbPT’s tenants. This government does not want people-centric development. No development should happen at the cost of livelihood of its people.” Arvind Sawant said, “It is my priority to ensure in-situ resettlement of the tenants of MBPT area. I am constantly working towards protecting the homes and livelihood of of tennets in this area.”