Mumbai: We can't afford to pay half our salaries as rent, say relocated labourers
Eleven civic labourers, who were relocated to Raoli Camp quarters in Sion after their Wadala homes were declared dangerous last year, fear BMC will levy higher rent for the extra area of their new homes
A year after they were relocated to Raoli Camp quarters in Sion after their building in Wadala was declared unsafe last year, 11 out of the 13 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) employees and their families still live in fear.
The labourers in the estate department are not afraid of another collapse, but of losing the roof over their heads, as the civic body may increase the rent from the present, subsidised sum of Rs 4,000-R5,000 to R15,000 per month as mentioned in their allotment letter, which was handed over to the labourers within two months of their moving in.
The Raoli Camp quarters in Sion. Pic/Laxman Singh
The other two employees who shifted are officers, and thus, there has been no change in their rent.
Last week, at a standing committee meeting, BMC leader of house and Shiv Sena Corporator, Trishna Vishwasrao, demanded that the rent be minimised as it was too high for the workers to afford. Vishwasrao, who had opposed this rent sum three months ago, too, said, “These workers get a very low salary and charging them R15,000 is unfair. The fact that they have been working for the civic body for so many years should be taken into consideration.”
Pay more for space
With a salary of Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000, out of which around Rs 12,000 comes in their hand after deductions, the civic body wants to increase the rent because the new accommodations measure 293 square feet, meant only for officers. BMC workers are entitled to a room of 240 square feet only.
Prakash Jadhav, 41, a labourer in the estate department who resides on the second floor of B-1 building with his family, said, “My elder son and daughter are pursuing their diploma and my youngest son is in school. How can we survive if we have to forfeit half my salary as rent? I have brought this to the notice of my superiors, but nothing has come of it. I will have to look for a cheaper accommodation, as I cannot afford to pay so much money.”
Another tenant, Sanchita Surve, 42, said the BMC must understand their grievance. “The salary we get undergoes many deductions. If they cut another R15,000, we will get nothing in hand,” said Surve.
Meanwhile, some tenants have complained about the bad condition of their new homes. Anil Tambe, 44, who lives on the fourth floor, said, “When we came here, we had to clean the house entirely and even get minor repair work done. Our friends and colleagues, who have shifted to officer quarters in Worli, are charged a nominal rent of R4,000-Rs 5,000.”
Additional Municipal Commissioner, SVR Srinivas, said, “I will look into the matter and try to rectify this problem at the earliest.”
The allotment letter mentioned an extra amount of R10,700 would be levied for occupying the additional area. The BMC has charged them R200 per foot for extra 53 square foot area, along with an additional sum of R100 for other taxes.
Thus, adding the amount to their regular house rent allowance of R4,000-R5,000, these workers will have to pay almost Rs 15,000 per month from their salary.