Protest Against Demolition in Bhimchhaya Basti

The Dalit community of Bhimchhaya Nagar basti in Vikhroli, Mumbai, is protesting against the demolition of their houses. They are protesting since the 5th of June, demanding protection to slum dwellers living in the Bhimchhaya, having proof of living there from 2000 to 2011. Action needs to be taken against the atrocities committed on Dalit families under the prevailing law, and compensation be paid for total losses incurred due to demolition.

The basti residents protesting for their rights live in constant fear of hooliganism, which started in the area after the protests began. These protesters are getting life threats from these hooligans, forcing them to stop the protest or to not participate. Women are mainly leading this movement – nearly hundred women are sitting on the protest site since it started. “I am from Somaiya forest basti. Since 2011, we have constant threat of demolition of our houses. Since then, I have been participating in Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan. Now I am in solidarity with the people protesting in the Bhimchhaya basti,” said Subhadra Kedar, one of the activists of movement against the demolition of the dalit Basti. People of the basti protesting for their rights are in the continuous fear of hooliganism which has prevailed in this area after the protest started. These protesters are getting life threats from these hooligans forcing them to stop protests or not participate in the protest. “Some hooligans make huts at any empty spaces available near our basti and sell them and earn money illegally. Instead of breaking these huts, the government gave order to break our houses which were made before 2000. We demand that strict action be taken against such antisocial elements who constantly threaten us while we are protesting for our rights,” said Mohite, who is one of the protestors.

bhimachaya

Demolition of the Bhimchhaya Nagar basti took place on 1st June 2018. After demolition, people of the basti whose houses were demolished had to live in the open in the heavy rain. The demolition process was carried out in Mumbai since April 1, 2018. Bhimchhaya basti is a Dalit municipal township and the residents here are very poor. Due to the pre-2000 settlement, it is protected by the Maharashtra Government’s decision of 16th May 2015. Apart from this, according to the Maharashtra government’s order issued on May 16, 2018, people living in this settlement who have domicile certificate till 2011 are also protected.

The major part of Bhimchhaya Nagar is located in CTS. 363. This plot had been notified in the year 2015 as a reserve forest. This notification has been in accordance with the order of October 6, 2005, of the Bombay High Court. In this order, it was suggested that the Kandalvan region be declared a forest. But Bhimchhaya Nagar basti was settled before the region mentioned in the order of the High Court, where there was no Kandalvan. This can also be proved through Google maps data. It was the land of the revenue department. Residents of Bhimchhaya Nagar have also submitted the proof of living in this settlement to the Forest Cadastre Officer. The officer has also written to district collector regarding this. The decision on the applications submitted to the forest cadastre office is yet to be taken.

Also, the case in Bombay High Court [WP (L) No. 1832] is pending, the decision on which is yet to come. Amidst all this, the forest department started demolition of the houses of the people. If a person of an SC/ST community is illegally evicted from his or her land, then it is a violation of section 3 of the SC / ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Assistant Kandalvan Officer gave the order to demolish houses under the section 53,54 of the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code 1966, but there is a provision for appeal in Article 247 of the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code 1966. It was not mentioned in the order by the Assistant Kandalvan Officer against whom this order can be appealed.

IMG-20180619-WA0015

Breaking the houses of Dalits without following any legal process is a violation of their human rights as well as mental torture to them. When the Assistant Kandalvan Officer was asked under the Right to Information Act, 2005, to whom the appeal can be made, he has replied that the appeal should be either made to the Divisional Commissioner, Konkan division, or to the High Court. When the people of the basti tried to submit the appeal to the Divisional Commissioner of Konkan division, he refused to accept it saying that it does not come under his working area. After this, the people filed a case in the High Court. If the Assistant Kandalvan Officer’s response to the Right to Information Act, 2005 and the legal process is considered, then they could get a stay order from the high court. But the Assistant Kandalvan Officer has been violating all these processes and forcing the poor Dalits to stay in the open.

Noticing this persecuting behaviour of Assistant Kandavalan Officer, when people felt threatened, they mentioned the case on June 1, 2018, with the help of their lawyer and got a stay on the order of demolition. But by then, the Assistant Kandalvan Officer had forcibly demolished the houses of many people. Most of the people in a homeless situation now are from the Dalit community.

On the second day of demolition, it was raining and it is still raining continuously since that day. The people living in the basti fall below the poverty line, they do not even have enough money to find another place. This is proved by their ration cards. The Bombay High Court has stopped the demolition and has given an order to maintain status quo. Even in this miserable situation, if someone puts up a temporary plastic shelter to protect onself from the rain, it will be in contempt of court.

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Workshop conducted during ‘Peoples convention on infrastructure financing- A response to AIIB Annual meeting’

June 21, Mumbai, India

 

This year India is hosting the annual meeting of  Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank on 25th-26th June 2018 in Mumbai. The future course of investment will be decided in the meeting which will be attended by policymakers. This meeting can life-changing event for the majority of the masses but not in the positive sense, these masses will get affected due to this investments.

Taking this into the consideration several civic organizations, that are working with communities affected by infrastructure projects came together and organized alternative meeting challenging the nature of infrastructure finance. The convention was held from 21st – 23rd June at Y B Chavan Centre, Nariman Point, Mumbai.

The different sessions conducted in ‘People’s convention on infrastructure financing- A response to AIIB Annual meeting’ were on Deconstructing the project Affected Peoples Mechanism, Gender, Shrinking Space for Civil Society, AIIB, Information Disclosure, Projects and Role of Financial Intermediaries. Also, the workshops were held during the meeting to help the affected people understand the working of AIIB and its consequences on lives of masses.

While investing in various developmental projects the World bank provides certain provisions which can safeguard some rights of the people affected by such projects. However, the AIIB (Asian infrastructure Investment Bank) does not provide any such provisions. One huge section of the population affected by the projects, funded by AIIB, is found to be living in urban slums. A workshop was organised on the first day of meeting to create awareness among people living in slum aware of the upcoming disaster in their lives in the form of International financial Institutions like AIIB.

 

Anand from Navnirman, Indore who is working on the issues of the demolition of slums in Indore, while speaking with the people said, “ We have to make a strategy which can save bastis from demolition. The government officials, leaders of political parties and builders have the nexus between each other. They want to make new building after every 10 years and they will displace you. There is a huge connection between the plan of smart cities, development plan and land acquisition act”.

The workshop was conducted by volunteers of Navnirman from Indore, Basti Suraksha Manch from Delhi and Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan from Mumbai. Affected people also shared their experience during the workshop.

Rachita tai from Ambujwadi basti while sharing her experience said, “There were no water, toilets or road facilities available for us, we fought for getting an electricity connection in our basti. The government is now calling our basti as illegal. But I want to ask them, then how the government is giving us ration card and voter ID, they are giving registration to our society. Then how can they say that our basti is illegal? We are with Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan since 2004. I feel very proud that this Andolan made me aware of my rights. It gave me courage and knowledge”.

Subhadra Kedar from Chandoli village which was earlier an Adivasi pada is now surrounded with buildings, said, “Government is giving us notice to vacate the places where we have been living since 1969, In 2008 they tried to demolish our neighbouring basti. When fought against them then they took us to the police station. We then contacted Medha Patkar and we started our movement. Police again came in 2012 but they cannot threaten us anymore. We are aware of our rights now.”

Jamil bhai from Bhimchaya Basti while sharing his experience said, “In 2004 they demolished houses of approximately 90 thousand people. We were without any support and leadership. After getting support from Medha Patkar and we started Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan. Our movement started on Azad Maidan it was 35 days long movement. We do not believe in rehabilitation or redevelopment schemes. We want to live in our own house which we ourselves made. When we got displaced from that place it affects our economy and ultimately our survival. Their development is our destruction.”

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Bheemchaaya: Small window of justice for helpless and terrified poor residents

Press Release

Bheemchaaya: Small window of justice for helpless and terrified poor residents

Due to impending monsoon, there is threat to the life of residents  

Mumbai | 20th May, 2018: Following the Bombay High Court’s order dated 6th October, 2005 in the matter of Bombay Environment Action Group in WRIT PETITION (LODGING) NO. 3246 OF 2004 regarding protection of Mangrove, a large number of Mangrove areas in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai were notified as ‘Protected Forest’ by Maharashtra Forest Department. Since certain activities can be allowed in ‘Protected Forest’ like collection of forest produce etc, Maharashtra govt decided to notify all those areas as ‘Reserved Forest’ which were earlier declared as ‘Protected Forest’ as per the High Court’s order.

Bheemchhaya is slum having 800 households where majority of the residence are Dalits. This slum is situated in Kannamwar Nagar 2 in (Vikroli East) in Mumbai. Bheemchhaya is in close proximity to Mangroves area which is notified as reserved forest.

The Court in the order said that no construction will be allowed to take place in the mangrove areas after the passing of this order. However, Bheemchhaya  is in existence prior to order of the High Court was passed and it is also a protected slum as per the Maharashtra Slum Areas (Improvement Clearance & Redevelopment) 1971. A slum is treated as protected if it is in existence prior to the year 2000 and the slum dwellers possess certain documents specified by the government to prove their residence since the year 2000. Slum dwellers in Bheemchhaya have all the valid documents proving their residence prior to the year 2000.

The Mangrove Cell of the Forest Department served notices to the residence of the Bheemchhaya in the year 2015 to prove their claims on the land where their homes are located. All the residence submitted their residential proofs specified under the Maharashtra Government Resolution dated 16th May, 2015. This Government Resolution (GR) has specified procedure for the rehabilitation and protection of slum dwellers on government land if they possess specified documents prior to the year 2000. However, the Assistant Conservator of Mangrove Cell, rejected these claims and passed an order of demolition of their homes in Bheemchhaya.   The Assistant Conservator passed these orders under section 53 and 54 of the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code 1966 (MLRC). Section 246 of MLRC provides for appeal if someone is aggrieved by the order passed under section 53 and 54. Whereas in case of Bheemchhaya, the Assistant Conservator has not specified the appellate authority and it is only after an RTI was filed, the Assistant Conservator gave a vague response saying that the appellate authority ‘may be High Court or Divisional Commissioner, Konkan Division’.

Residents of Bheemchhaya have contacted the Divisional Commissioner for appeal. The office of the Divisional Commissioner has refused to accept the appeal since this office only deals with matter pertaining to land belonging got revenue department and not forest department. While on the other hand, the residents of Bheemchhaya have also approached the High Court, but since the Court is on vacation and the vacation bench is sitting on selected days, it is very rare that the matter will be heard on time. The demolition is scheduled for 22nd May, 2018. Our lawyers will mention the matter on 21st May to get the stay but it is not sure that the stay will be granted on the same day.

The Forest Minister is out of country and his secretaries are also on leave so there are no chance so there is no one available in the Ministry to hear the grievances of the slum dwellers. When everyone is on leave, why cannot slum be spared from demolition?

It is a case where there are so many procedural flaws are there due to which a huge community like Bheemchhaya will be demolished and a large population of dalit and poor people will become homeless. To get these flaws fixed and get protection to slum dwellers there is a very small window of justice available. In this situation, the slum dwellers are left helpless and terrified.

Poorest of the poor citizen must get state’s priority but today opposite of this is happening. These poor citizens have equal contribution in the functioning of the city but their hard work and labour are not duly recognized. They are always

treated as secondary citizen due to their poverty and stigmas attached to slum dwellers

 

Do write/call to appeal to stop the demolition:

Name Designation Phone Email
Shri. Vasudevan N. Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest ccfmmumbai@gmail.com

 

Off. 022-26591586

Mob. 8879085704

 

Contact: 9958660556

 

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Houses of 1400 poor Dalit and Muslim families under threat of demolition in Mumbai

Houses of 1400 poor Dalit and Muslim families under threat of demolition in Mumbai

No eviction without rehabilitation

Due process of law to be followed before carrying out the demolition drive

 

Mumbai | 6th May, 2018: Amidst hollow populist claims of ‘Housing For All’ and ‘Affordable housing’, the government-administration of Mumbai is once again threatening to demolish homes of around 1400 poor Dalit and Muslim families.

Two slum areas-Bheemchhaya in Kannamwar Nagar, Vikhroli and Cheeta Camp in Trombay are set to be razed to ground by bulldozers.

Bheemchhaya is a Dalit majority community with 800 households while Cheeta Camp is a Muslim majority slum community with 600 households. The demolition will be carried out by the Maharashtra Forest Department.

Government claims that these areas are notified as forest and needs be free of encroachment. However, without following the due process of law and making enough provisions for grievance redressal, the Forest Department has announced the demolition of Cheeta Camp will be carried out tomorrow and Bheemchhaya on later dates. No notices of demolition have been served to the affected families.

These slums are protected as per Maharashtra Slum Act but the Forest Department has notified these areas as ‘reserved forest’ and is disrespecting the housing rights of the slum dwellers by refusing to rehabilitate the protected slum dwellers.

Heavy police forces are deployed for the demolition drive. Local police station of Cheeta Camp is terrorising Muslim youths and threatening them of dire consequences if they try to resist the demolition drive.

While in Bheemchhaya, Forest Department has issued orders of demolition on false grounds without providing the aggrieved slum dwellers any mechanism to appeal against the order. This action will amount to violation of section 3 of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 which prohibits eviction of member of a Dalit Community without following due process of law.

This government is disregarding the vulnerabilities of the Dalits and minority communities in this country by demolishing their only shelter. This will lead to further marginlisation of these communities.

Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan appeals to the state government of Maharashtra to stop this demolition of homes of vulnerable families with children.

We also appeal to members of civil society, political organisations and concerned citizens of the city to stand up against this injustice. We appeal everyone to visit Bheemachaya and Cheetah Camp to initiate dialogue with members of the community and persuade the state government to resolve matters by dialogue and mutual consent rather than brute police force. The city belongs to everyone and it is the government’s responsibility to ensure housing to all. Instead, for years what Mumbai is witnessing is ‘snatching away’ of homes, life and livelihood by that very state that should protect the poor, vulnerable and marginalised.

We must come together to prevent another gross injustice in the name of demolition that will be remembered as a dark chapter in Mumbai’s history.

 Please phone and write to request to stop the demolition:

 

Sr. No. Name Designation Phone Email
1. Shri. Devendra Fadnavis Chief Minister of Maharashtra cm@maharashtra.gov.in

 

Off. 022-22025222, 22025151
2. Shri. Sudhir Sachchidanand Mungantiwar Minister for Finance and Planning, Forests min.finance@maharashtra.gov.in Off. 022-22843657
022-22843647
3. Shri. Vasudevan N. Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest ccfmmumbai@gmail.com

 

Off. 022-26591586

Mob. 8879085704

Contact: 9958660556

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Press Release

At Women’s Day gathering, women speak out, resolve to fight

‘Slum-dwelling women face greater risk to safety and security’

Mumbai | 8th March, 2018: A public meeting organised by Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan on the occasion of International Women’s Day revealed how even in Mumbai, known for being the country’s most women friendly city, women’s safety and well-being depends on the area in the city they occupy and the kind of material structures they live in.

Testimonies at the meeting, attended by around 100 women from several slum pockets in Mumbai, revealed that lives of women in these settlements are several times worse off than that of their counterparts from the upper classes who live in regularised buildings. Not only do the former have to shoulder the burden of arranging for basic amenities like water, unavailable at their door-steps, they must also deal with ever-present threats demolition and the sexual abuse and molestations that follow.

“When our homes are evicted without notice, we are left on the roads, with no toilet facility,” said Sushila Gulab Kale, a resident of Jai Ambe Nagar slum located in Govandi. “It puts our safety at risk in several ways, including possibilities of sexual molestation,” she said at the meeting organised in her slum settlement.

A woman giving testimony

Another resident, Fatima, spoke of the perils pregnant women have to face. “My daughter gave birth to her child and three days after our house was demolished by the government. We spent nights without shelter. No words can explain the pain that we went through after eviction,” she said.

Several women from neighbouring slum settlements of Sathe Nagar, Mandala, Bheemchhaya and Sanjay Nagar came forward to give testimonies about similar difficulties.

Fatima, who works as a sweeper on sub-contract with the Mumbai municipal corporation, said even though she cleaned the gutters and gave sheen to Swachh Bharat, she lacked the basic toilet facility in her slum. “I clean gutters through the entire day. But we in our slum, we are forced to defecate in the open, as there is no toilet. Even then, people living in high-rise buildings adjacent to the open ground where we defecate throw stones at us. You tell us what are we supposed to do? Shall we not defecate and allow our stomachs to swell,” she asked.

Housing, which is a basic necessity, has simply been reduced to a commodity. It implies that if one can afford to buy a house only then he/she will have a house and if one cannot afford to buy a house then there is no provision to get the protection of even a minimum shelter.  The commoditization of housing is reason why slum housing comes into being. Urban poverty is a reality. Slums or informal settlement is where urban poverty exists. There is a certain kind of terminology that has been evolved over a period of time to ridicule these settlements. The terminology is totally unjustified at a time when economic inequalities are growing day by day. The existence of slums is the marker of poverty being perpetuated. The demolition of slums has not eradicated poverty but have forced people to become homeless, voiceless and invisible population of the city that ironically are also workers and toilers. These workers are toilers are responsible for subsidizing of economy at a large. Slum demolition has become a norm in major cities like Mumbai.

A number of women at the gathering expressed their anger on false promises made by every politician before elections.

“We have spent several years seeing politicians come to us with folded hands and promise us better facilities. After the elections, everyone forgets us. The only things the politicians leave behind are words. Shall we hold the words, like we hold air? They simply betray us”, said Maya Sutar from Jai Ambe Nagar. “We get paid for our hard work but politicians only make hollow promises. We are honest people, they are liars” added Sutar.

Women in the last concluded that there is no end to their suffering if they not fight themselves to make their lives better. “Though we are suffering, we have not given up. We will fight and we will win”, said Jameela Begum of Sathe Nagar slum and who also moderated the public meeting.

Girija Gupte and Mary Antony of Jagrut Kamgar Manch remained present as the guest in the public meeting.

Contact: 9958660556

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Maharashtra government failing in its commitment to address housing shortage

Press Release

Maharashtra government failing in its commitment to address housing shortage

Utilised only 0.444% of the total fund allocated under ‘Housing For All’ scheme for the current fiscal year

Mumbai | 20th February, 2018: Like every year, Maharashtra government failed to utilise funds allocated for constructing affordable housing as part of its ambitious plan to curb homelessness from the state. A total of Rs. 1,381.951 crore were allocated for the current fiscal year under the ‘Housing For All’ scheme out of which 0.444% were spent on housing, remaining 99.556% is unspent as on today.

 FY 2017-18  In Rs. Crores
Name of the scheme BE Expenditure in treasury % spent % unspent
22162996-Housing for all- Grants to Implementing Agencies (60% Central share) 1125 5.001 0.444 99.556
22163007-Housing for all- Grants to Implementing Agencies (40% State Share) 256.95 0 0 100

Source: https://beams.mahakosh.gov.in/Beams5/BudgetMVC/MISRPT/DeptExpActScheme.jsp

Though, the Maharashtra govt have an ambitious plan of constructing 1.9 million housing so as to address housing shortage in Maharashtra, in reality only 23,000 houses have been constructed till date as per the latest report by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affair. These 23,000 houses are in fact houses constructed under the old housing schemes like RAY, CLSS etc but now have included under the current ‘Housing For All’ scheme. BJP government whether at center or in state is good at showing dreams but fails in realising them especially when poor is going to get benefits. ‘Housing For All’ looks like a distant dream given the present pace with which housing being constructed.

However, it is a different thing that even the full utilization of funds might not be able to address the problem of housing/homelessness as our analysis of the present housing scheme-‘Housing For All’ or ‘Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana’ finds certain loopholes.

‘Housing For All’ or the ‘Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana is more or less formulated on the same lines as were previous housing schemes were made. Hence, it contains the same loopholes. Our analysis of the ‘Housing for All’ suggest that a large chunk of population that is either homeless or not living in dignified housing or slums, will not be able to get the benefits of this scheme. Two of the four provisions (‘Credit Linked Subsidy’ and ‘Affordable Housing in Partnership’) of ‘Housing For All’ scheme are basically modeled to facilitate in purchasing of affordable housing. As per the latest information received through an RTI, alone in Mumbai there are around 20 lac families having an annual income less than Rs. 1lac. Under the prevalent rates, no housing under any affordable housing segment can be availed to a family belonging to this income level.  The third provision of PMAY is ‘in-situ slum rehabilitation’ based on the ‘cut-off-date’ model which means that some of the member of a slum will be held ineligible hence not getting the benefit of the scheme. Lastly the ‘Subsidy for beneficiary-led individual house construction/enhancement’, which is available to only those people who owns a piece of land. The last provision is at least not for slum dwellers who never own a piece of land. In a nutshell, the poorest of the poor might not get housing under PMAY.

The existing approach to address the housing problem will not work. There is a need for overhauling the housing schemes and policies so as to ensure that poorest of the poor have a protection of minimum and a dignified housing.

Conclusion and recommendations: 

The latest report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing recommends Indian government to formulate a law in order to address the housing problem:

“However, the Special Rapporteur is concerned that short-term schemes will not be sufficient to address the housing situation of those who are most disenfranchised and discriminated against with respect to housing. As a next step, and in keeping with the political commitments made under the New Urban Agenda,55 India needs an overarching, visionary and coherent piece of legislation based on human rights. A national housing law that aims to address growing inequalities and offers a long-term road map is essential. In addition, the economy of India is and will continue expanding, which suggests that it will continue to have the necessary resources to implement the right to adequate housing across the country.”

India has recognized and ratified housing as a basic human right in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948. But in the paucity of a law, the housing rights of the most marginalized section of the society living in informal settlements or slums have violated innumerous times across India. Shift from considering housing a commodity to a necessity for every citizen is required.

Contact: 9958660556

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Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan Calendar 2018

 

Here’s a chance to begin your New Year by contributing for a cause which is for the poorest of poor section of the society. GBGBA is all set to celebrate the New Year with the release of its 2018 calendar. We need your support in our attempt to protect the basic human rights of the most downtrodden. The cost of each calendar is Rs. 100 but you may pay any amount over and above this to contribute to our cause. Your contribution will be utilized for GBGBA’s work that include ensuring basic amenities (water, toilets, electricity) in slums, campaigning for housing rights and other related issues. The calendar is in three languages: English, Hindi and Marathi.

You can send your contribution by clicking here: https://www.instamojo.com/@gbgba. Please forward the payment receipt to: gbgbandolan@gmail.com. Do let us know which language calendar you want.

We hope this New Year helps us act more strongly upon the values of justice, equality, liberty and fraternity enshrined in our constitution, for all citizens.

 

Thank you Javed for the photo, Shrujana, and Vivek for the design

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Rehabilitation plan for Tansa Pipeline Project Affected openly violated Right To Education Act, 2009

Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan filed complained with MCGM

Demand compensation and strict action for violation of the Act

Mumbai | 18th December 2017: Apart from other major problems in Mahul, Mumbai-the rehabilitation site for the Tansa Pipeline Project Affected Families, the sample survey (of 130 children) carried out by the Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan (GBGBA) revealed that major provisions of Right To Education Act, 2009 are openly violated in the rehabilitation process which resulted in dropping out and traveling to really far off places to attend schools. This is in complete contravention to the core principles of RTE which also include free and compulsory education.

Since the demolition was carried out in the middle of an academic year, children had to continue their schooling in their old schools at original places. The rehabilitation site is variably at a distant place from the original places. The distance range from 10KMs to 20KMs. This has put a financial burden in the form of transportation cost on the poor families. Survey reveals that at least Rs. 200 is spent per day on to and fro transportation cost. This is really a huge cost for a family belonging to EWS or LIG. Majority of the PAFs belongs to these economic groups.

Survey also recorded that in some cases where the parents cannot afford this transportation cost have simply stopped sending their children to school.

Due to the long distance between new home and old school, most of the mothers stay at school until it is over so as to save the multiple traveling cost.

 

No arrangements were made by Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai to accommodate children in a new school at the rehabilitation site so that their academic year is not affected. MCGM is the responsible body for carrying out rehabilitation of the Tansa Pipeline Project Affected Families.

 

​Non-functional local sewage treatment plant has caused sewage to overflow making the streets filthier. School going children making their way to school from one those streets in Mahul rehabilitation site​

 

RTE provisions stipulate the provisions of schools upto 5th standard and 8th standard within 1KM and 3KM respectively with free transportation so that the travelling cost can be waved off. This is to ensure that transportation cost should not become deterrent in sending children to school. However none of these basic provisions of the Act seems to be taken into consideration while making rehabilitation plan for the Tansa Pipeline Project Affected Families. GBGBA has filed a complaint today before MCGM against the violation of the Act and has sought quick action with a warning of mass action for inaction.

Medha Patkar Anita Dhole Patil Uday Mohite Bilal Khan

Contact: 9958660556

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Update: Ambujwadi gets water from BMC after 20 years of wait while water mafias in the area create obstruction

After almost 20 years of existence, Ambujwadi-an informal settlement in Malvani, Mumbai Municipal Corporation (popularly known as BMC)  has finally recognized the right of the people and conceded to allow water supply to the slum. The joint efforts of the organized slum dwellers through Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan for over two years finally resulted in the beginning of water supply in the slums of Ambujwadi. Currently, two tankers of ten thousand litres each reach Ambujwadi daily, which is then distributed into 500 cans of 40 litres each. This supply is available only to a small fraction of a large population of around 50,000 in Ambujwadi.

Before these tankers were authorized to sup

Ambujwadi Water Supply
Water brought through water tanker from BMC local ward office is being transferred to water tank from which water is distributed to local residents

ply water, residents had to buy water from private sources where each can of 40 litres was priced at Rs. 20-25. The residents complained that the water they bought from private sources stank and was unclean. They suspected that it was unhygienic and also the cause of many diseases in the slums. The new water supply through the tankers is priced at Rs. 7 for every 40 litre can of water.

The BMC after allowing water tankers in Ambujwadi is now creating newer problems with more absurd rules and conditions that weren’t in place earlier. The BMC is demanding licensed water transporters to take up the contract for delivering water in the slum area, the cost of which are beyond the meager means of the slum dwellers. The need for licensed water transporters has become a new, mandatory rule set by the BMC recently, to create more hassles and deny the people of Ambujwadi their right to clean, affordable and legal drinking water. At double the cost of unlicensed water suppliers, the people of Ambujwadi are grappling with the rates enforced by authorized license-holders in order to meet the unnecessary and regressive rules that the BMC has imposed. This is suspected to be a conspiracy of the water mafias-who used to sell water at exorbitant rates in nexus with BMC officials, so as to restrict the supply of cheap water and enable water mafias continue selling water at high rates and bad quality.

Ambujwadi Water Distribution
Water being distributed to residents of Ambujwadi

The responsibility of water supply in Ambujwadi rests on the voluntary committee that is formed there, which includes two women and three men. While the women, Nirmala Singh and Shanta mausi take care of the accounts and the responsibility of supplying the 500 cans of water, the men in the committee handle the responsibility facilitating the timely arrival of water in Ambujwadi.

We are looking to further minimize the cost of water and make it available to every family in Ambujwadi, for which we shall require your support. We intend to share a plan of action in a couple of days so that you can contribute and be a part in ensuring that water supply reaches each family in Ambujwadi at the least possible cost.

Email your queries on gbgbandolan@gmail.com

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Urgent: Appeal for Legal Assistance on Housing Rights of Mumbai’s Urban Poor

Ghar Bchao Ghar Banao Andolan (GBGBA), an autonomous grassroots movement of the poor working class in the slums of Mumbai, since 13 years has raised the issue of absence of basic amenities in many of Mumbai’s slums before the Maharashtra Human Rights Commission. Demand was also raised to set up a time bound grievance redress and service delivery system, in the absence of which requests remain pending for years. The Commission suggested us to refer to ‘Right to Service Act’ while making any request for basic amenities in the slums from the Mumbai Municipal Corporation.

We are, at the moment, focusing on provision of water and sanitation in slums. We have proposed to the Mumbai Municipal Corporation certain ways by which the provision of water and sanitation can be made in a fast track mode. However the Corporation still not seems to be serious about making provision on urgent basis. We are planning a series of meetings with local ward officers of Mumbai Municipal Corporations with the reference of the Act. Since the Maharashtra state ‘Right to Service Act’ and its Rules are only in Marathi, it is difficult for some of us to refer to and effectively use specific provisions of the Act/Rules. The Commission is also open to make recommendations, if the the said Act/Rules don’t have provisions for ensuring basic amenities in a time-bound manner.

It would be a great help if someone (preferably a person knowledgeable in law) volunteers to carefully read the Act/Rules and help us find out relevant provisions which we can be relied upon while meeting the ward officers.  Kindly respond as soon as possible. 

Please write to: gbgbandolan@gmail.com or call @ 9958660556 

Background:

GBGBA has been consistently organizing the working class, toiling people Mumbai’s slums since 2004 and has fought numerous battles with the authorities to ensure basic right to the city and its services.  About 10,000 protesters from slums in 2013, along with social activist Medha Patkar took out a massive rally on the streets of Mumbai, raising issues ranging from eviction to fraud in rehabilitation projects (detailed article about the protest can be read here). During a ten days protest, a delegation led by Medha Patkar met Mumbai’s Municipal Commissioner. The delegation complained about the absence of basic amenities in slums. The Commissioner was prompt in issuing directions to concerned officers and so were several GBGBA activists in following up with the concerned departments. But even after 4 years, , no significant progress is seen on the ground, as on date. The attitude of the Corporation makes one wonder if they think the slum dwellers are ‘water-proof’ and ‘sanitation-proof’ and that people in the bastis can survive without these services for years together !

The unavailability such services have forced slum dwellers to opt for private water purchase at higher and arbitrary rates and defecate in the open. GBGBA also made a parallel complaint to the Maharashtra Human Rights Commission during the ten days protest about the absence of basic amenities.  The Commission took cognizance of people’s plight after four long years and started hearing in April this year. During the first hearing, the Commission asked the Mumbai Municipal Corporation to sit with the delegation of GBGBA and find out a solution to make provision of basic amenities in Mumbai’s slums. A meeting was called by the Corporation on 30th June. GBGBA raised certain issues of homelessness in Mumbai and proposed fast track methods for making provision of water and sanitation on an urgent basis. Everything was taken on record and was forwarded to the concerned department in the same manner as was done in 2013 by then Municipal Commissioner. During the second hearing on 4th July, GBGBA expressed its dissatisfaction with the Corporation’s way of dealing the issue and demanded a time-bound service delivery system. The Commission had then asked us to refer to ‘Right To Service Act’ while making any request for any service and also assured us to pass suitable orders to ensure basic amenities if ‘Right To Service Act’ do not have enough provisions in the next hearing. Commission has given more than two months time to Mumbai Municipal Corporation and GBGBA to get the matter resolved before the next hearing which is posted for 28th August 2017.

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