Sena-Congress lock horns over demolition of illegal Dahisar slum

A new political drama seems to be unfolding between the Shiv Sena and Congress over Ganpat Patil Nagar slum in Dahisar (West). While the BMC is determined to raze the illegal structures that were built by clearing mangrove forest and has support of local Sena corporator Abhishek Ghosalkar, Congress corporator Sheetal Mhatre is siding with the slum dwellers.

An aerial view of Ganpat Patil Nagar in Dahisar (W) that the encroachers built by cutting mangrove forest

Mhatre also met the deputy municipal commissioner of the region to decide which shanties were illegal. She said that bringing down all the structures at once would create panic and law and order situation in the area. She also said the slum was home to almost 8,000 families.

An entrance to the shanty town. Pics/Sayed Sameer Abedi

To ensure that things do not spiral out of control during the demolition drive, the BMC officials have decided to visit the spot first and mark the illegally developed area, and then bring down the illegal structures.

Sena says
Ghosalkar said, “This Ganpat Patil Nagar has been built by destroying mangrove forest and hence stringent action must be taken against the encroachers. As per my information, authorities are going to do it soon.”

Congress says
Mhatre said, “A law and order situation might develop if everything is demolished at once. Why target people who are below poverty line? First, demolish commercial structures that were build on the land acquired by destroying mangrove forest and are run by Sena people. We just cannot render thousands of families homeless.”

Addl Municipal Commissioner for Western suburbs Manisha Mhaiskar said, “Demolition drive will be carried out, but in phases. First, we will mark what is illegal and then raze it.”¬†

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