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No Diwali cheer for mill workers' kin

Families of the city’s mill workers, who thought they would be able to celebrate this Diwali in their newly-acquired MHADA flats, will have to wait. The labour department and MHADA have created a condition wherein the legal heirs of the mill workers, who have won houses in the lottery, will have to provide a succession certificate to prove their eligibility. Getting this certificate takes between six to eight months.


Last month, thousands of mill workers blocked roads in Bandra to oppose the MHADA lottery. File Photo 

Some mill workers’ associations are unhappy about the move and feel that MHADA should come up with a solution so that the process of giving the flats’ possession is completed before Diwali. The labour department has issued a list of six documents out of which the mill workers will have to provide at least one to prove their eligibility.

The mill workers who have won the flats will get the possession easily but their kin will not have it easy. “If a family member of a worker has won a house, he/she can try and claim his/her rights through legal means, but it will delay the proceedings,” said a MHADA official, on condition of anonymity. The mill workers’ leader, Datta Iswalkar, who issued Girni Kamgar Sangharsh Samiti, said, “We thought we will celebrate Diwali in our new MHADA homes. But now, some mill workers who have won homes, will have to submit succession certificates before getting the possession of their house. The process of getting the certificate is lengthy and tiresome. People will have to apply in the Bombay High Court and it could take six to eight months.”

The lottery of 6,925 mill workers houses was conducted last month. According to sources at MHADA, “There are no official figures of the houses won by the kin of mill workers, but it is believed that more than half of the winners are mill workers’ families.”

On July 24, mill workers will stage a protest at Azad Maidan demanding the announcement of the date when the remaining mill workers can get their flats. Earlier, Minister of State for Housing, Sachin Ahir, had promised that the workers would get their allotments by October this year, but now this seems a distant dream.

MHADA will send the intimation letters to the winners soon.  

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