Dharavi locals threaten to burn documents this Holi

Peeved with lack of redevelopment and frequent surveys by government bodies, this Holi disgruntled Dharavi locals have decided to burn the documents, which make them eligible for a house in the area after redevelopment. They made the announcement earlier this week when they went to Maharashtra Housing and Development Authority’s (MHADA) office at Bandra.

They claim that despite the BMC, MHADA and even a non-government organisation (NGO) conducting surveys earlier, the municipal corporation is again having a survey in Dharavi. The locals fear that if they are proved as illegal residents in the ongoing survey then in the near future they might not get their homes.

According to Hariram Dilliwala, secretary of PROUD (an NGO from Dharavi), the first survey was conducted in 2004-05 by the BMC and MHADA. Then an NGO conducted a survey in 2008, which was followed by another one in 2010. He said, “We do not understand why the government is carrying out so many surveys.

We went to the MHADA office and told them categorically that they should instead start constructing our houses. We want redevelopment. If they don’t do so, then we will burn the files this Holi.” Seconding Dilliwala, Sanjay Shinde, of Aapli Mumbai (another NGO working in Dharavi) said, “The biggest fear amongst the locals is that if they are proved illegal residents in the survey, then they won’t get a house.”

He added that on March 12, the locals and NGOs will invite some MHADA officers to Dharavi to give them an update as to when the actual redevelopment will start.

When contacted Sameer Biswas, the CEO for Dharavi Redevelopment, said that he was unaware about this issue. S Ughade, the G South ward commissioner, under whose jurisdiction Dharavi falls, couldn’t be reached.  

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