Mumbai: Aarey to root out squatters with trees
Aarey Colony officials found slum dwellers had returned to encroach in the area just two weeks after their illegal hutments had been demolished; in order to prevent repeat incidents, they will carry out tree plantation drives
Just a fortnight after illegal shanties in Aarey Milk Colony were demolished, yesterday the local authorities found squatters had begun to encroach the area yet again.
The local authorities had demolished the illegal hutments near Gautam Nagar last month, but found squatters in the area yet again yesterday
The officials were pelted with stones by the angry slum dwellers when they were asked to move yet again, and the police had to resort to a lathi charge to get the situation under control. In a bid to prevent any such future problems, the Aarey CEO will now carry out extensive tree plantation in vulnerable areas.
The police had to be called in when the angry slum dwellers began to pelt stones during the second demolition on Wednesday. Pics/Nimesh Dave
In fact, after the new Aarey CEO, Gajanan Raut oversaw the slum demolition near Gautam Nagar on May 14 (‘Illegal shanties at Aarey Colony demolished’, mid-day, May 15), there were already plans to carry out a plantation drive there to avoid future encroachment.
But on Wednesday, when the officials reached the spot they found people squatting there illegally yet again. In order to clear them from the location, the CEO office had to call for assistance from its own security team, as well as the police.
A volunteer from the Save Aarey Milk Colony group was also present at the occasion, and told mid-day that that there was a heated argument between the slum dwellers and the authorities, because of which the police had to resort to lathi charge.
“It was just a few weeks ago that the demolition of huts was done near Gautam Nagar, and when we planned the plantation drive, we came to know that the space had been encroached upon illegally once again.
When the CEO office authorities and the local police requested the people to move from the area, an argument began and the people began to throw stones, due to which the police lathi charged them,” said the eyewitness, on condition of anonymity, adding that the cops eventually had to call for extra backup to control the mob.
An official, requesting anonymity, told this newspaper that the slum dwellers were allegedly being encouraged by a local political leader, who was facilitating the encroachment as well. However, the CEO office hopes to avoid such conflicts in the future by immediately planting trees at areas vulnerable to encroachment.
“We have plans to take strict action against the illegal shanties and any kind of illegal construction taking place in Aarey Milk Colony. We have identified few locations that are vulnerable to encroachment and we would be taking up plantation drives there,” said an official from the CEO office.
The year in which Aarey Milk Colony was established