The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) recently conducted a massive demolition drive that destroyed nearly 326 slums in Mahatma Phule Nagar. The operation was aimed at expanding the road leading to Gorai Jetty in Borivali, which is a popular tourist destination. In this article, we will discuss the reasons behind the demolition, the impact it had on the residents, and the measures taken by BMC to rehabilitate them.
Reasons for the demolition:
BMC officials stated that the slums, which were established in 1995, were causing traffic congestion and hindering the smooth flow of tourists to the area. Since Gorai Jetty is a popular gateway to many tourist attractions, including Gorai Beach and the Global Vipassana Pagoda, BMC decided to widen the road to make it more accessible.
The demolition process:
Around 200 BMC employees, 30 officials, and 70 policemen were deployed for the demolition of the slums. The operation took place on a Friday morning and lasted for a few hours. As a result, nearly 600 meters of the road was widened for traffic. However, the demolition left many slum-dwellers homeless and without any means of income.
Impact on the residents:
The demolition drive was a traumatic experience for the residents of Mahatma Phule Nagar. Most of them were unaware of the impending demolition and were not given sufficient time to move their belongings. Many of them were forced to spend the night in the open, without food or shelter. The demolition left them homeless, jobless, and in a state of shock.
To alleviate the distress of the displaced residents, BMC extended a helping hand to 133 slum-dwellers who were eligible for resettlement. These individuals were provided with new homes in a building for project-affected people (PAP) on Malharrao Kulkarni Road. While another 40 slum-dwellers qualify for paid rehabilitation, there are still many remaining residents who are facing an uncertain future and struggling to find a place to call home. Despite the rehabilitation efforts, the upheaval caused by the demolition drive has left a significant impact on the lives of these people.
The demolition of the slums in Mahatma Phule Nagar was a necessary step taken by BMC to ease traffic congestion and boost tourism in the area. However, the lack of proper communication and rehabilitation measures has left many slum-dwellers homeless and struggling to make ends meet. While BMC’s efforts to resettle eligible residents are commendable, more needs to be done to ensure that the remaining residents are not left in the lurch.