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Tired of delays, MMRDA to force slum dwellers away

Ineligible for relocation, these project-affected families have delayed the completion of the Sahar Elevated Road project by almost a year

The 2 km-long ambitious Sahar Elevated Road project, that was getting delayed due to the pending Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) of around 200 ineligible Project Affected People (PAPs) residing at Rajaramwadi, Bananwadi, Ambedkar Nagar and Sambhaji Nagar, will no longer be an issue. If the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is to be believed, then the developmental body has now decided to deal with the PAPs with an iron fist.


Getting tough: MMRDA have decided to deal with the PAPs with an iron
 fist. FILE PIC


Enough is enough
MMRDA Commissioner Rahul Asthana said, "Apart from the small section of flyover and the ramp, the entire road is almost complete. The reason for the delay is the R&R issue of the ineligible tenants, who are refusing to evacuate despite MMRDA providing them with temporary accommodations in transit camps."

During the construction, MMRDA discovered that the project would be affecting nearly 700 families. After conducting an eligibility survey, the MMRDA discovered that about 200 out of 700 families were ineligible for R&R. However, with these families refusing to vacate the area, they delay in completion of the project seems inevitable. Taking a serious note of the issue, the MMRDA has made it clear that in two weeks it will start demolition and resort to forceful eviction of the with help of police, if needed.

Confirming the same, Asthana said, "The ineligible PAPs should immediately move to transit camps, which the MMRDA is providing them or should be ready to face demolition drive and forceful eviction that would start in two weeks with the help of police."

An MMRDA official, requesting anonymity said, "We are confident of resolving the R&R issue and a proposal has already been sent to the government, requesting it to include some more points like ration card, driving licence, in addition to the present PAP eligibility criteria list."

"Some of the ineligible PAPs don't have old residence proofs, but have been residing at the above-mentioned
area for over 15 years and hence we requested the government to consider their case, so that the major hurdle in the project is cleared," the official added.

PAPs relocated
Earlier in January, the MMRDA had said that the project was 70 per cent complete and the road would open for public use by May end. However, with the ineligible PAPs refusing to move out, the inauguration was delayed.
The major reason why the illegal residents refuse to leave their houses and shift to transit camps is because they feel that the MMRDA would give them accommodations in transit camps, but not permanent houses.

The project
The six-lane road will have four entry and two exit points The proposed road would be 2 km and is worth about
Rs 287.37 crore Is funded under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission

Smooth rides
Once completed, the road will help ease out traffic congestion at Bahar Junction under the Andheri flyover and Sahar Road. It will provide a sigh of relief, especially to those travelling towards the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, helping them beat traffic jams and save precious time. MMRDA is confident of inaugurating the road by March 2012.

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