"Fulfil our empty promises": Jarimari slum dwellers to authorities

Updated: Aug 26, 2019, 22:04 IST | Faizan Khan

Posing as a threat to the functioning of the airport, people residing at the Jarimari slum near the runways are waiting for their rehabilitation promises to be fulfilled

"Fulfil our empty promises": Jarimari slum dwellers to authorities
Pic/ Faizan Khan

Security lapses to Mumbai Airport have always been a serious conversation for the authorities, especially the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). They keep doing the security assessment on regular and informing the concerned stakeholders. The recent incident happened on Thursday where a 22-year-old mentally-ill man scaled the fencing wall of Mumbai Airport from the Jarimari area where around 80 thousand people are residing in the slums.

On Thursday, a man scaled the wall and walked towards a Spice Jet aircraft. No security alarm was raised unless the pilot saw him and stopped the aircraft.  What is more shocking, according to the locals, is that the man climbed to the public toilet wall, which was a movable structure adjoining to the compound wall, went unnoticed by the airport authorities. After the incident, the local police have removed the structure from the spot late Thursday night.

The person identified as Kamran Sheikh was been arrested under section 447, 448,336 of IPC by the airport police and was produced before the magistrate court, which granted him bail on surety Rs 15,000.

According to the CISF, they have been doing security assessments on a regular basis. "Time and again we have requested MIAL as well as the state authorities to take care of the adjoining Mumbai airport as there are many slum dwellers that is causing a lot of troubles. The inquiry has been initiated on the current incident as well," said CISF spokesperson Hemendra Singh.

midday visited the spot and found that the security wall was not in good condition. The runway is easily accessible despite the compound wall. The height of the wall cannot be crossed easily. The condition of the compound wall is also questionable as a major portion is hollow and in bad shape.

Also Read: Mentally challenged man held for trespassing at Mumbai airport

Eighty thousand slum dwellers are residing right next to the runway in the city. Their rehabilitation is being discussed since 2007 but till date, but locals say that nothing has happened. In fact, the 2018 CAG report mentioned how Maharashtra govt failed to rehabilitate the residents and the threat to the security of the airport still remains. The locals said that a few months ago the authorities did another survey during the general elections but nothing has been done. Even Naseem Khan, the local MLA, also promised for the rehabilitation but they have been waiting for the promises to be fulfilled.

Sagar Rajendra Landge, (28)

runway

"The compound walls are not in good condition. We have faced threats since my childhood. The government always fooled us with empty promises of rehabilitation, my grandparents have died waiting for the same. This security threat also concerns a lot, but nobody cares about our lives. The temporary public toilet has now been demolished but nobody cared when it was built illegally. We do not have any other options here."

Rukhsana Raees Khan (35)

runway

"I am residing here for the past 30 years. My in-laws have been staying for 40 years. Such incident scares all of us. We always live in fear. Despite knowing the condition of the boundary walls, nobody takes it seriously unless something like this happens. We are also waiting for the rehabilitation as we can't sleep here in peace."

Vijay Bagle (30)

runway

I am living here for past 30 years, the compound wall and the rehabilitation has always been a matter of concern for all of us, but nothing has changed here. We are just waiting for some big incident to happen for a change to happen.

MIAL Statement

The slums and encroachment area outside the Mumbai International Airport Limited's premises have been existing since many years for now.  Understanding the situation and the security management at the airport, MIAL is under strict 24/7 CCTV surveillance with CISF posts spread across the perimeter and PIDS installed at every area of the premises.

Addressing your query, we haven't received any written complaint or verbal communication regarding the wall from CISF. And we are unaware if CISF has directly shared the information with the BMC/MMRDA authorities who are the concerned bodies to overlook at the infrastructure outside the airport. The man was arrested within minutes of entering the airport premises due to high security PIDS alarm.

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