Mumbai: Illegal shanties at Aarey Colony demolished

After mid-day’s report on the shantytown that had sprung up near Unit 32 at the cost of the local green cover, Aarey Colony’s CEO launched a demolition drive; a security team was also formed to patrol in the area and prevent further encroachment

  Taking serious note of mid-day’s report about shanties rampantly encroaching on Aarey Colony’s green cover, the authorities carried out a massive demolition drive on the illegal structures yesterday. Displaying an active interest in the exercise, the Aarey Milk Colony CEO was also present at the site.

Two bulldozers were used to raze the shantytown that had sprung up near Unit 32, as well as an illegal toddy den in the area

Two bulldozers were used to raze the shantytown that had sprung up near Unit 32, as well as an illegal toddy den in the area

mid-day had reported that in the past few months, shanties had mushroomed near Durgapada, and each of these was being sold by the local land mafia for anywhere between Rs 10,000 and Rs 20,000 (‘Land mafia selling shanties in Aarey Milk colony?’, March 24) Read the full story which led to the mid-day impact here

Two bulldozers were used to raze the shantytown that had sprung up near Unit 32, as well as an illegal toddy den in the area

Not only was this slum development flattened, the authorities also formed a security team of 25 guards who will patrol the area to ensure no further encroachment or illegal construction takes place.

On Thursday afternoon, 25 guards from the security wing of the Aarey CEO’s office took part in the demolition drive along with 45 other staff members. For the first time in years, even the Aarey CEO Gajanan Raut was present during the demolition drive.

Aarey Colony CEO Gajanan Raut was present throughout the process and also instructed the workers to demolish an illegal toddy den in the area
Aarey Colony CEO Gajanan Raut was present throughout the process and also instructed the workers to demolish an illegal toddy den in the area

Speaking to mid-day, Raut said, “We have demolished around 150 illegal shanties that had come up near Unit 32. I will see to it that the illegal structures don’t come up in Aarey Milk Colony and our security staff will also be patrolling in the area on a regular basis.”

Two bulldozers were used for the demolition, which also razed an illegal toddy den. Sources from CEO’s office told this newspaper that Raut does not want any illegal structures to come up in Aarey and so has also informed the security officer in charge of the area to ensure regular patrolling and immediate action against any new illegal structure. Raut also visited the forested patch in the colony, where guards were instructed to keep an eye out for the unlawful felling of trees or dumping of garbage and debris.

A security team will regularly patrol in the area to prevent future encroachment in Aarey Colony
A security team will regularly patrol in the area to prevent future encroachment in Aarey Colony

It should be noted that the Save Aarey Milk Colony group has been highlighting these issues, and members are happy to see that action has finally been taken.

Welcoming the move, environmentalist Stalin Dayanand from the NGO Vanashakti said, “It was good to see that an official of CEO-rank took active part in the demolition drive that took place in Aarey Milk Colony. In fact he was present at the spot the entire time the drive was in progress. With a good CEO in place, we can now at least expect that the remaining forested patch is protected from any kind of encroachment.”

Voice
Within a short span of 6-8 months, an area of about 15 acres near Unit 32 had turned into a full blown slum. The people abetting this encroachment need to be taken to task. I whole-heartedly support and thank the Aarey management for demolition drives initiated to evict illegal encroachments. Two days ago, another demolition was conducted at Gautam Buddh Nagar, behind Modern Bakery in Aarey. The newly appointed security team of Aarey will be an added force for its protection Jyoti Sharma, Save AMC member

Celebrating Aarey

A festival will be held on May 24 to celebrate the natural beauty and biodiversity of Aarey Colony. Titled ‘Aarey Mahotsav’, the fest is being hosted by the Save Aarey Conservation Group, an umbrella body comprising both citizens and a few NGOs (Vanashakti, GreenLine) working for environmental awareness. Nature trails will be held from 6.30 am to 10.30 am, and other activities from 3.30 pm to 7 pm. To participate, contact: aareymahotsav@gmail.com

The event will include:
>> A traditional dance by local Warli tribals living in Aarey
>> Musical performances
>> A street play
>> Competitions for banner painting and drawing
>> Workshops for poetry, juggling and pottery (with potters from Kumbharwada)
>> Photography exhibition
>> Info booth with details on trees and advice for growing a mini-garden

30,000 Number of illegal slum dwellers inside Aarey Colony

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