Worli Slum Residents Threaten Poll Boycott

ST Correspondent
Friday, 18 October 2019

“Ganesh Developer demolished the houses for redevelopment and started the work of slum redevelopment scheme. As compensation, the builder assured to provide the slum residents rent for alternate accommodation. From the last eight years, the builder has failed to give the rent to the residents,” said Pravin Yerunkar, president of the society.

MUMBAI:  Residents of slums in Worli and Parel have decided to boycott the State Assembly election over the issue of development and rehabilitation of their houses which were demolished in 2012. Around 1,500 residents of Worli have decided not to vote until they receive an assurance of the rehabilitation project.

According to locals, their slum consisting of more than 1,000 houses was demolished in 2012 to make way for a 23 storey Slum Rehabilitation Authority building. 

But the developers stopped the construction midway around two years ago due to lack of funds. The Worli Dhobighat Bachav Sangharsh Samiti said that all members of their society have decided not to vote in protest. 

“Ganesh Developer demolished the houses for redevelopment and started the work of slum redevelopment scheme. As compensation, the builder assured to provide the slum residents rent for alternate accommodation. From the last eight years, the builder has failed to give the rent to the residents,” said Pravin Yerunkar, president of the society. 

On the same issue, the residents of Mahalingeshwar Society in Parel village have also decided to boycott the elections. Omkar Developer has not paid the rent to the residents for the past eight to nine months. “We appealed to local MLA, MP and corporators but no one took cognisance of our issue,”  

“Why should we participate in the process to elect them?” asked Yerunkar. 

“After our houses were demolished, we were given monthly rent of Rs 15,000 till 2016 but they have stopped paying us for the past three years,” said Dinesh Waghela, a resident of Worli. “The building is not fully constructed and we don’’t know where to go and where to live. We don’t have rent money or a house,” he added.

Jijamata Nagar, another slum in Worli, is also being redeveloped. There are 4,500 hutments in this area which will be redeveloped. The BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation awarded the project to a builder but nothing has happened in the last 10 years. 

Sushil Varma, a resident of a Jijamata Nagar, said, “We heard that they will expand the size of the house to 500 square feet. These are old slums which have gone under redevelopment. After waiting for so many years for a better house, nothing has happened in our life. We are hence considering boycotting the election,” he said. 

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