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Dream home eludes slum dwellers as PMC, SRA play blame game

More than 1,000 people, who have been occupying the transit camp at Nana Peth as the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) are yet to give them a permanent shelter, staged demonstrations in front of the SRA's and civic body offices yesterday, demanding allocation of homes at the earliest.


With folded hands: A woman pleads with Dr Sanjay Kolte (left), 
additional CEO, Slum Rehabilitation Authority, to complete their 
rehabilitation project yesterday. A delegation of slum dwellers marched 
to the SRA office to press for their demands. Pic/Krunal Gosavi

A delegation of slum dwellers also met both PMC and SRA officials. A couple of buildings at Darshan Park area in Nana Peth, where these families are to be housed, are yet to be complete because the builder refuses to continue work until the Transferable Development Rights (TDR) funds are cleared either by the PMC or the SRA. 

An old promise
According to Ajay Bhosale, a former Shiv Sena corporator from Nana Peth, who had led the agitation, said that slum rehabilitation schemes were introduced some 10 years ago by the PMC and it had also shown readiness to pay the TDR to respective builders ready to construct the buildings for slum dwellers. Nearly 106 families at Darshan Hall area in Nana Peth were promised houses by the PMC in 2006. 

"They are yet to get their dream houses of 270 square feet each. The building work started but is yet to be completed, as the TDR fund is not paid by the PMC. Now, the PMC and the SRA are playing a blame game with the slum dwellers," informed Bhosale.

Official word
When contacted, Dr Sanjay Kolte, additional CEO, SRA, said, "Issuing a Developmental Right Certificate (DRC) to builder is PMC's job and they need to pay the TDR funds subsequently. Our job is only to pass a remark over the work done in each rehabilitation project. We are sending our remarks to PMC in the next four days."

PMC's City Engineer Prashant Waghmare, said, "It is only SRA's concern when it comes to slum rehabilitation programmes in Pune. PMC Commissioner Mahesh Pathak will only check the files on the work status sent by the SRA, including the issue related to Darshan Hall slum rehabilitation programme. We are not supposed to pay the TDR amount."

Bhosale reiterated that both the authorities (SRA and PMC) were not accepting their responsibilities. "Waghmare had giving us a verbal assurance to complete the building project soon. We, all the residents at Darahsn Hall slums are now organising a final indefinite agitation at PMC main building after waiting for the next 15 days." 

Homeless speak
Varsha Thakkar, a slum dweller, said, "Everyone in the slums is living a sad life. Sanitation is a grave problem. How long shall we stay in this hell-like situation?" Sunanda Waghmare, another slum dweller said, "The problem has become grave, as rodents comes out of the ground and eat our food and nibble at clothes in the camp. PMC had assured us of giving homes some five years ago, and still our fate has not changed. We are watching our half complete building near the transit camp and are waiting to occupy our homes."

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