After receiving demolition notice, slum dwellers in Mumbai claim they have right to rehabilitation
Around 280 slum dwellers at Bheemchaya, Vikhroli, were served demolition notices by the Ministry of Forest (mangrove cell) last month, residents and citizens have asserted that they have the right to be rehabilitated.
The slums, which are located close to a mangrove patch, are slated to be flattened by the end of the month. The notices were served after a Bombay high court verdict that called for the conservation of mangroves.
However, slum residents have claimed that they inhabited the area before January 1, 2000. As per a government resolution passed in 2014, this makes their homes eligible for regularisation or entitles them to rehabilitation in case their homes are demolished, they said.
Makarand Ghodke, assistant conservator of forest, Mangrove Cell, said “Mangrove land is reserved forest area and these slums have come up after destroying mangroves post 2005. Thus, as per the High Court order, these slum dwellers have to be evicted,” said Ghodke.
Bilal Khan of NGO Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan pointed out that the high court order only dealt with the conservation of mangroves, and did not speak about the demolition of the slums.
As most houses in Bheemchayya belong to members of Dalit communities, activists have said that demolition order constitutes atrocities against them. “This will amount to a violation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Act, 1989,” said Uday Mohite, social worker.