Aaditya Thackeray promises to help Mahul residents

Updated: Jan 10, 2020, 08:09 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

People say withdrawal of BMC's plea in SC against HC's relief order will be the only concrete assurance

Residents point to the industry units close to their building which have turned the air in Mahul toxic. File pic
Residents point to the industry units close to their building which have turned the air in Mahul toxic. File pic

The change in the government might just be the opportunity for the Shiv Sena to resolve the long-standing issue of Mahul residents who are suffering on account of toxic emissions from factories in the area. Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray on Thursday said the state government has initiated the process of addressing the residents' grievances.

The high court had on September 23 instructed the civic body to pay the residents transit rent within 12 weeks but the BMC filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court seeking a stay on HC's order. After a setback on the legal front, the people of Mahul have now pinned their hopes on the Shiv Sena, which is in power both in the government and the BMC. Organisations fighting for them have demanded the withdrawal of BMC's plea in the SC.

Aaditya told mid-day, "The chief minister has asked officers to work out a long-term solution for them [Mahul residents]. They can't keep moving from one place to another. Things are being worked out and we will help them."

Maharashtra Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray. File pic
Maharashtra Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray. File pic

Hundreds of project affected people (PAP) who have been rehabilitated suffer from a range of health problems, including skin infections, hair loss and urinary tract infections.

Ahead of the assembly elections, Sena had supported the Mahul residents and had demanded that they be moved out of the polluted area. The Mahul residents even met Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray last month and were given assurances.

With renewed hope, Mahul residents have decided to keep on hold their protest plans. Bilal Khan, convenor of Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, said, "Sena has openly supported us in the past and we hope that they will direct the BMC to implement the high court's directions of giving rent to the families. But people are getting even sicker and we also want a solution soon. We will give them some time. If things aren't resolved soon, we will go in for a full-fledged protest."

Khan added that withdrawal of petition from the apex court will be the only concrete assurance from the government.

The HC had directed the BMC to pay Rs 15,000 monthly transit rent and a refundable security deposit of R45,000 to each family, but the civic officials had claimed they didn't have sufficient funds. They had later filed a special leave petition in the SC requesting a stay on the HC order.

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