Mumbai: Mahul residents to march to BMC over alternative homes
As thousands gear up to converge at its HQ, Mumbai civic body prepares to challenge HC order in the Supreme Court
Even as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is gearing up to present its side in the Supreme Court, around a thousand Mahul residents will head to the civic body's headquarter at CST to submit applications for alternative homes on Wednesday.
The High Court on September 23 ruled that alternative accommodation must be provided to Mahul residents, who have been struggling with extreme levels of air pollution, within 12 weeks and directed the government to deposit Rs 15,000 per month as rent and Rs 45,000 as a refundable deposit in the account of each occupant till alternate homes are allocated. The civic body is set to challenge the ruling which could cost it Rs 125 crore every year. "The BMC will present the case with updated details on the situation in Mahul, rather than on technical grounds," said an officer from the BMC.
On the other hand, Mahul residents are set to converge at the BMC headquarter. "As per the High Court directive, we have to submit an application for an alternate residence to the BMC and the Urban Development department. We will reach BMC on Wednesday at 11 am," said Nandu Shinde, a resident of Mahul and one of the High Court petitioners. "Around a thousand residents will gather to submit their applications," he said.
There are 72 buildings in Mahul, where 5,550 homes belong to project-affected people. Currently, 3,000 to 3,500 families are staying in Mahul, while several others shifted fearing health hazards due to the excessive air pollution. There is a case going on in the Supreme Court over shifting more project-affected people to Mahul. The next hearing for the case is scheduled for October 29.
With respect to these petitioners who are already residing in Mahul, BMC has time till December 16, which it is utilising it to make its case stronger. Bureaucrats argue that a few hundred crores have already been spent on the construction of the buildings in Mahul. And that demolishing these residences and constructing new ones will result in another huge expenditure for authorities.
BMC has also asked stakeholders, such as oil and refinery companies, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, and the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute to submit fresh reports about pollution levels in the area.
Rs 125 cr
The yearly amount BMC will have to shell out to pay Mahul residents a refundable deposit of Rs 45,000 and a monthly rent of Rs 15,000
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