For a slum redevelopment project, the basic consent required is of 70 per cent of the total slum dwellers. But now, activists claim that the government, in order to benefit the developers, has come up with stringent rules to curb opposition by slum dwellers. A proposed plan suggests that if a slum dweller opposes the project and does not join before the building permission is granted, he/she will lose the right to the free home they are supposed to get.

Pic for representation
Pic for representation

The proposed Development Plan in connection to Development Control Rules 33 (10), that was issued earlier this week by BMC reads, "If they (opposing slum dwellers) do not join till the building permission to the Project is given, they will completely lose the right to any built-up tenement, and their tenement shall be taken over by the SRA, and used for the purpose of accommodating pavement-dwellers and other slum dwellers who cannot be accommodated in-situ etc. A pitch of about 3 m x 3.5 m will be given elsewhere if and when available, and construction therein will have to be done on their own."

The provisions have a stage-wise design on how opposing slum dwellers will lose their right (see box: The Proposed Development Plan). Ramakant Jha, Officer on Special Duty (DP Revision) said, "We added the provisions as discussed by SRA because many a times, some opposing slum dwellers drag the project, and majority suffer. Hence, this clause has been added."

Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta said he would have to read the clause again, to comment properly on it. However, activists claim that the government is trying to help developers. Amit Maru, an SRA activist said. "By adding this clause, even someone trying to raise legal objections to the whole project will lose his right. The slum dwellers will be scared to raise objections in fear of losing the free house, which is their right. This will help developers, and allow them to do whatever they want, as slum dwellers' opposition will be curbed fully."