Maha govt plans to give more power to SRA for slum-free state

Mumbai: With a view to make Maharashtra slum-free by 2022, the state government has proposed amendments to the Maharashtra Slum Areas Act that will give more teeth to the Slum Rehabilitation Authority to ensure stringent implementation of the scheme.

"The government has proposed certain amendments to the Maharashtra Slum Areas Act, 1971 to introduce stricter provisions and fix time frames. These amendments will ensure that the SRA takes pro-active steps to implement the scheme in a very transparent and effective manner," SRA Chief Executive Officer Aseem Gupta told reporters on the sidelines of an event here today.

The government is trying to simplify the eligibility criteria for slum dwellers as well as the procedure to seek their consent to ensure hassle-free implementation of the scheme, he said.

Besides, the SRA will also have the powers to elect a developer in cases, where there is conflict of interest on both the sides--slum dwellers and well as the developers.

"The existing scheme has certain loopholes, which were misused by both the parties. However, the amendment intends to simplify the procedures and ensure there is not conflict of interest. In such cases, SRA will intervene and elect a developer," he said.

The amendments also seek to allow evacuation of shanty dwellers once more than 50 per cent of the residents have shifted out.

"The revised draft policy intends to provide that non-participants of the slum scheme shall be shifted if more than 50 per cent of slum dwellers have been shifted out. This will eliminate the right of non-consenting slum-dwellers from procuring a legal stay on an SRA scheme," Gupta said.

The state has so far created two lakh homes and has a herculean task of providing shelter to over 60 lakh people, he said.

"It is not easy to undertake a slum redevelopment project as it is not just providing homes but also ensuring that the social and economic aspects of the community are not disturbed. Besides, we cannot even stop migration.

Given these conditions, it becomes a challenge to implement the scheme.

But Maharashtra has done the most to address the problem," he added.

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