Saturday, January 11, 2020

37 buildings for airport squatters ransacked

Mumbai: The rehabilitation of more than 17,000 slum-dwellers from airport land to Kurla has hit a roadblock, as the 37 buildings constructed on the plot where the Premier Factory once stood – where they were going to be housed – are in such a state of disrepair that they are no longer habitable.
The buildings, constructed by the now bankrupt Housing Development and Infrastructure Limited (HDIL) in lieu of transferable development rights (TDRs), have been picked clean by vandals and thieves, who have made away with doors, windows, plumbing, wiring, tiles, etc. One official described the site as “ghost town”.
 In January 2019, the state housing department had written to the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) to sign two MoUs with Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) and send them to the Airport Authority of India for its consent. The first MoU was for the rehabilitation of the 17,000 families after repair of the 37 buildings, and the second was for in situ rehabilitation of the other squatters (numbering around 63,000).
 “The problem is HDIL is now bankrupt,” an SRA official told Mirror. “There was an agreement between HDIL and MIAL whereby MIAL was going to clear all encroachment from airport land. MIAL didn’t have land of its own to rehabilitate the slum-dwellers and had an agreement with HDIL – they had the biggest parcel of land in the area – to move 80,000 affected families.”
 The official pointed towards another problem with the project: The final list 17,000 people is not out yet. MIAL and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority were supposed to identify encroachers and conduct a survey. “Since that survey isn’t complete, we don’t know exactly who is eligible,” he said.
 11/01/20 Linah Baliga/Mumbai Mirror
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