Despite HC stay, BMC ordered demolition of our homes, Sion-Koliwada residents, activists allegeUpdated: Feb 13, 2020 00:24 IST
Six months after the Bombay high court (HC) issued a stay on the demolition of koliwadas and gaothans, residents of Sion Koliwada on Wednesday have alleged that they were served notices by the civic body last week stating that their homes would be demolished on Tuesday.
Though the civic body did not go ahead with the demolition on Tuesday, residents are worried about losing their homes. The demolition will take place as a part of the slum rehabilitation process.
Gajanan Belale, the ward officer for the area said the notices have not been issued yet. “We haven’t issued notices yet and will do so in a few days time. But we are not sure when the demolition will take place, as we are yet to schedule that,” said Belale.
Rajesh Keni, a resident of the koliwada, said that around seven houses in the area had received notices from BMC last week, following which they approached the state government. After a hearing by the officials, the demolition was put on stay.
“We cannot be classified as hutments and asked to leave, because we are the original inhabitants of the city. Currently, around 500 houses remain in the koliwada and gaothan areas, and notices are served to every 10 houses at regular intervals,” said Keni.
Godfrey Pimenta, vice-president of the Bombay East Indian Association, wrote to the chief minister and the civic body over the issue. “According to the HC order, no house can be demolished in gaothans and koliwadas. If the ward officials go ahead with the demolition, then it would be a violation of the court order,” said Pimenta.
In April 2019, activists had filed a petition demanding that their centuries-old villages should be demarcated as gaothans and koliwadas in the development plan and not be classified as slums. Later in August, a bench of chief justice Pradeep Nandrajog and justice Bharati Dangre had ordered that no action will be initiated in any gaothan till it is demarcated.
The rehabilitation scheme came up at Sion Koliwada region in the mid-1990s, following which demolitions have been taking place regularly.