State govt. cannot shed its responsibilities anymore.
4 April, Mumbai: Finally after more than a year of struggle by the people of Mahul demanding relocation, the government of Maharashtra lost the case in High Court. The Court directed the government to pay a monthly rent of Rs. 15000 to Mahul residents and other project affected persons (PAPs). Mahul was declared unfit for Human habitation by NGT in 2015 as well as IIT, Bombay this year, in spite of this, the Government of Maharashtra remained adamant to not move people out of Mahul. Now, the Court order is binding on the govt.
Earlier, Mumbai’s Tansa pipeline displaced people who were forcefully rehabilitated in Mumbai’s toxic area – Mahul, declared unfit for habitation, were taken aback when the Government of Maharashtra in a shocking submission to the Mumbai High Court on 20 March said that it cannot pay rent to the Mahul residents so that they can go live somewhere else because it would burden the state exchequer.
Government is also not willing to allot those thousands of vacant lying houses meant for Project Affected Person in the city of Mumbai. The Mumbai High Court had earlier directed the Government of Maharashtra to find out ways of shifting people living in Mahul so that their lives can be saved. But the stand taken by the government clearly shows that it does not care about the endangered lives. More than 200 people have died in a matter of three years due to pollution related diseases after being forcefully sent to live in Mahul.
To the relief of Mahul-affected people, the Court has directed the govt. to pay a monthly rent of Rs. 15000 and a deposit of Rs. 45000 as long as the finding of NGT regarding pollution remains intact. Municipal Corporation is directed to take consent of the people whoever wants to opt for rent and submit the estimated amount to the state government so that the govt. can release the fund to the corporation which in turn will deposit the yearly amount to bank account of Mahul residents and other PAPs. After receiving the amount, Mahul residents will have to vacate their houses within one month and acquire a house on rent elsewhere.
The dharna being staged by Mahul residents and will continue until people get money in their account so that they can acquire alternative housing.