The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) seems to be in no joking mood with its demolition drive in the city. In the last one year, it has brought down 22,381 illegal structures. Compare this to the previous year (2010-11), where they managed to bring down only 19,000 structures. According to the data provided by the civic body, 7,480 residential structures, 3,890 commercial structures and 11,011 shanties have been demolished from April 2011 to April 2012.
Yesterday too, BMC officials tore down a line of shanties at Garib Nagar in Bandra (East). The maximum number of shanties torn down has been in K-West ward with 4,017 shanties while the least amount of shanties broken have been in F-South Ward, with 116 in the last one year. Commenting on the demolition drive, an official from BMC’s encroachment department said, “Our drive goes on throughout the year but we stop during the monsoons. Most of the shanties listed have been broken down.”
He further informed that the demolition intensified during the month of May as it was the holidays and it would be less difficult for the inhabitants to shift during this period. On Tuesday, the civic body demolished around 83 shanties and 12 bricked structures in the P North ward office, whereas yesterday eight bricked structures and approximately 150 slums were torn down at Garib Nagar. “The demolition drive is not complete yet and we hope to receive the same police security that we got yesterday, said MD Pimple, assistant municipal commissioner of H-East Ward.
The civic body has also begun a drive to demolish all shanties across city footpaths, informed Additional Municipal Commissioner Mohan Adtani. “We have shortlisted 124 roads on which there are approximately 5,500 shanties in the city area. The drive is ongoing but only 45 or so roads would be completed before the monsoon while the rest would be done later. The displaced people would also be rehabilitated.”
The number of shanties broken down at K-Ward West (Andheri), making it the highest in the city
The number of shanties broken down at F-South Ward (Parel)
The number of shanties broken down in 2010-11
Garib Nagar residents lose their homes… again
Residents of the slums at Garib Nagar, Bandra (East) were in for a rude shock yesterday when the civic body’s bulldozers tore down their homes.
As part of the BMC’s demolition drive, authorities pulled down eight bricked homes and approximately 150 shanties leaving the residents dejected.
Narrating their ordeal, a resident said, “After the fire broke out last year, we had lost our homes. Seeing our plight, officials had allowed us to set up home here again. However, this demolition came as a complete shock. Each house has been brought down, and no one has been spared.” While officials claim that the eight bricked homes were illegal structures, the residents complain that seven of the pukka homes were legal. “When we were setting up homes, a month ago, no one said anything and now that we are happy and settled, the officials have come and demolished them without any notice. I have three children. Where am I going to go?” complained Shabana Mehmood Khan, a resident of Garib Nagar. Additionally, slum dwellers complained that the police present during the demolition had roughed them up while they were being forced out of their homes. “One policewoman dragged me out of my home by my dupatta and even hit me,” complained Sheikh Roshambi. Another resident Salma Begum said, “An old man suffered a heart attack because he was beaten up by the official and had to be admitted to the hospital. We are all extremely uncertain of our future.”
— Anuradha Varanasi