BMC demolition drive: Shanty residents claim they didn't get prior notice

Over 60 shanties were demolished at Wadala, BMC says the legal residents were provided accommodation

The BMC on Wednesday demolished more than 60 shanties in Wadala. Residents alleged that they were not given any intimation, but BMC maintained that since most of the shanties were illegal, they did not require prior notice. They claimed the legal residents were already provided accommodation.

dwellers
Some dwellers were not eligible for alternative accommodation since they either came after the year 2000 or did not have documents to prove otherwise. Pic/Shadab Khan

The city has many illegal encroachments on open land, footpaths, railway stations, etc. These structures, either residential or commercial, are those that came up after the year 2000 and are therefore not eligible for rehabilitation. The BMC removes such structures periodically in order to clear up the space for use. A similar drive at Wadala bridge on Tuesday and Wednesday heated up the circumstances after officials tried to demolish a madarsa but could not. The BMC officials then clarified that the madarsa will be demolished following a court order that says that illegal religious structures must be demolished. A temple was demolished on the same lines. Both have been provided alternative space.

However, the madarsa could not be demolished on Tuesday after opposition from locals. The Madarsa Talimul Quran is run by Jamatul Muslimeen Trust. They had been allotted space in Lallubhai Compund but on the first floor. The trust then wrote to the BMC in 2012 asking for space on the ground floor and refused to take possession. The BMC allegedly agreed but did not comply. On Tuesday, civic officials kept asking the trustees to vacate the premises and told them that they would be given space on ground floor soon. “It hasn’t been done in four years. What guarantee they will do it now?” said Sufiyan Vanu, trustee.

The area had a total of 296 illegal structures, mostly residential. Of these, about 122 were termed eligible for alternative accommodation. They were provided accommodation in Mankhurd and were asked to shift there. However, the rest were not eligible since they either came after the year 2000 or did not have documents to prove otherwise.

BMC speak
“The drive has been undertaken to free space. Due procedure has been followed. Those eligible have been provided alternative accommodation,” said Ramakant Biradar, assistant municipal commissioner, G/North ward.

Voices
Vimla, daughter of 70-yr-old Mongibai Chekhalia
My mother is ill. She hasn’t eaten anything all day. I don’t know how she will manage tonight, out in the cold. We were not given any notice before the demolition. We have lost a lot of our belongings

Nahid Shaikh, a resident
We had no warning. After submitting documents, they did not even tell us we were disqualified. My daughter has her exams going on. Four papers are remaining. How will she study now that her house has been demolished?

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