mid-day Impact: Mahalaxmi kids won't be relocated to Gorai yet

Oct 13, 2018, 07:25 IST | Chetna Yerunkar

Housing authority says 25-odd families of the building can continue to stay put till a proper hearing is conducted

mid-day Impact: Mahalaxmi kids won't be relocated to Gorai yet
Residents said they have not yet been notified of the decision

Hours after mid-day highlighted the plight of 30-odd schoolchildren and their families who were being shunted out of their homes just days before their exams, the state housing authority has granted them relief. Vinod Ghosalkar, Shiv Sena leader and chairman of MHADA's repairs board, said nobody will be asked to vacate until a proper hearing procedure is conducted.

This paper had reported yesterday that with semester exams just around the corner, around 30 children living at Mahalaxmi Sadan were living in the fear of losing their homes. The 25 families residing in the building only have a couple of days to obey a notice issued to them by the Maharashtra Affordable Housing and Development Authority (MHADA), instructing them to vacate the building and move to Gorai.

Ghosalkar's intervention will mean the children can at least appear for their exams
Ghosalkar's intervention will mean the children can at least appear for their exams

The notice, issued on October 8, had given them a week to leave the building, to make way for Metro III construction nearby. The residents were upset that MHADA had asked them to leave without any assurances about what would happen to them once the Metro work was completed. Moreover, they had been asked to shift all the way to Gorai, which would have disrupted their lives and that of their children, all of whom attend schools in central or south Mumbai.

With time running out, they had visited the MHADA office, as well as Mumbai Board chairman Madhu Chavan, where they were again asked to approach MHADA officials. However, on Friday, during a press meet at the MHADA head office in Bandra, Ghosalkar announced that the housing authority would not evict the residents until a hearing is held.

The building was declared in danger of vibrations from the Metro construction nearby
The building was declared in danger of vibrations from the Metro construction nearby

Relief, at last
"We understand that shifting will become a problem for their children, and they deserve a chance to be heard. Irrespective of which officer gave them the notice, they will not be moved without a proper hearing, and certainly not within seven days," said Ghosalkar, the chairman of MHADA's repair and reconstruction board.

However, the residents seemed unaware of this decision. Ravindra Sahani, one of the inhabitants of the building, said, "We are still not aware of this, but we will definitely reach out to the chairman and ask him for intervention as the notice period ends in two days. According to the notice, we will be evicted from our houses using police force, and this is our major worry. We don't want to lose our houses without any assurance about what will happen to us in the future."

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