‘Pay Rs15,000 a month to PAPs till you give them flats,’ Bombay HC
The Bombay high court (HC) on Wednesday asked the state government to pay Rs 15,000 every month to project affected persons (PAPs) living on and around the Tansa pipeline till alternate accommodation is provided to them.
The bench of justice AS Oka and justice MS Sanklecha said while the rights of Mumbaiities, who receive water through the Tansa pipeline cannot be risked, the rights of the PAPs, who are found residing near or within 10 metres of the pipeline, also could not be overlooked.
While pronouncing the order, justice Oka said that in light of the observation of an earlier bench, which stated that “allowing houses on or around the pipelines could expose the residents of Mumbai to terrorist acts”, the state should have taken steps to rehabilitate the PAPs immediately. However, as the state had failed to do so, the court had no option but to issue directions to address the problem.
The order further said that as the state was not able to provide 225 sq ft accommodation to PAPs around the Tansa pipeline, it should start paying rent to the families set to lose their houses to demolition.
The order said the state should, in a month’s time, issue letters to more than 4,000 eligible PAPs, offering them to opt for the rent and await their replies for a further month. The court allowed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to start demolishing structures around the pipeline only after the state pays the PAP the rent.
It directed the BMC to make a schedule of the demolition of the homes of PAPs after the state starts paying the rent to them, and complete the process by November 2019. The HC also directed the state to pay the same amount as rent to the 225 families provided accommodation at Mahul till the air quality of the suburb improves.
When special counsel for the state, Girish Godbole, sought clarification about those PAPs at Mahul who would opt for rent and also continue to reside in their present accommodation after the air quality improves, justice Oka said those opting for rent would have to forfeit their flat and would not be able to claim it again.