The group marched from Princess Street to Girgaum to oppose the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation’s decision to rehabilitate them in far-off places to make way for Metro Line 3
Residents and shopkeepers from Girgaum have joined forces for a cause. The cause being, their displacement because of the Metro.
The residents and shopkeepers who participated in the protest march and bandh want to be rehabilitated in the vicinity. Pics/Bipin Kokate
Yesterday, shops remained shut along the alignment of the proposed Metro corridor, and affected businessmen and residents marched from Princess Street to Girgaum, to protest the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation’s (MMRC) decision to rehabilitate them to far off places.
Protesters also included these Koli women, who work at a fish market that will also be affected due to the project
Over 600 affected residents and members of Chira Bazaar, Girgaum and Grant Road Rahivasi Bachao Kruti Samiti lead the silent protest. Participants included senior citizens and women.
“Our main, and only, demand is to have all the affected people rehabilitated in the neighbourhood itself. These people have been living here for four to five generations. You cannot displace them without their wish”, said Pandurang Sakpal, conveyor of the samiti.
The proposed Metro Line 3 project may impact 2,223 buildings in all, out of which a few are solely residential or commercial, while others are a mix of both. It is said that the project may affect Gilder Tank Maidan, which is the only open space available in the area of 4-5 km where children play in the evenings.
While speaking to mid-day, Sakpal said that he wants the government to issue concrete proof with a General Resolution stating that the project affected persons (PAPs) would be relocated in nearby areas only.
“When the topic is raised for discussion, anything can be said by anybody in the house. It is necessary to have a General Resolution finalised as per the law and get it approved by the chief minister, as only then will the people believe in it,” said Sakpal. The group has stated that it is ready to suggest to the government a few alternative places where residents can be rehabilitated.
Rajkumar Bafna, a Shiv Sena leader, said, “People here have come forward in support of the residents, in order to protect the solidarity of the area and put pressure on the government. We are ready to suggest some places as options, but it is the government’s responsibility to consider people’s opinions and relocate them in their vicinities.”
Shashikant Pawar, Grant Road resident
We are not against the construction of the Metro, but give us our houses and shops in this area first. Our ancestors have grown up here. We cannot just leave like this.
Rajesh Hazare, shopkeeper at Grant Road
It is the government’s responsibility to look at our concerns on priority.