The deluge of politics over rehabilitation of residents from dilapidated buildings in Thane shows no signs of letting up. In their latest salvo, some members of Shiv Sena have demanded that police personnel staying in the city should also be accommodated in Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority’s rental homes in Vartak Nagar meant for rehabilitating residents of illegal dilapidated buildings in Mumbra.
MLA Pratap Sarnaik and some of his colleagues have forwarded the demand to the CM. One of the reasons the Sena leaders have specified is that police presence in the area would dissuade anti-social elements from raising their heads.
Sarnaik claims that whenever free homes are provided, the owners either sell or rent them out to others, thus augmenting the population of miscreants. Cops living in the locality would keep things in check.
“There are 1,486 dwellings, and we are demanding that 10 per cent of these should be given to police. Many cops are staying in buildings that are extremely rundown, and so in our letter to the chief minister we have asked for rehabilitation of these personnel as part of the rental home schemes.
There are 500 such police families that can be accommodated in the nearly 15 projects being run currently,” the Ovala-Majiwada MLA said.
According to Sarnaik, inhabitants of Mumbra’s dangerous buildings are hesitant to move into the smaller dwellings. “These houses are a mere 160 sq ft each, and their MLA (Jitendra Awhad) has assured them that he will get them 500 to 600 sq ft residences,” said the Sena leader.
However, Sarnaik has asked the chief minister that two rental apartments be merged together to accommodate every police family. “When we can lodge residents of unauthorised buildings in government homes, then why not the Thane policemen staying in dilapidated structures, who are at least living there legally,” he asked.
Driving home the point
MiD DAY had reported on June 25 (‘Vote bank politics places Mumbra on shaky ground’) that while Sena leaders had asked for locals to be given preference while putting up people in the Vartak Nagar homes, leader of the house in Thane Municipal Corporation Naresh Mhaske advocated that the Mumbra residents be accommodated somewhere in their own neighbourhood and not in Thane, and the Thane homes be used to relocate residents of illegal buildings in that area.