Peace bus for displaced BMC staff

Published: 15 December, 2013 05:12 IST | Chetna Sadadekar |

Civic body approves plan for special bus service for the children of all BMC employees who have been told to shift from their dilapidated buildings to transit homes in Mahul. The buses will ferry these children from homes to their schools and back

There is some good news for BMC employees living in the dozen-odd buildings across Mumbai that have been declared dilapidated and will be razed soon. The civic body has agreed to ply special buses everyday from Mahul, where most of these families are being shifted, to the different schools the employees’ children attend.

Dadar East’s Gautam Nagar  society will be demolished soon. File Pic

The issue of the displacement of these civic employees has seen angry exchange of words from the ruling Shiv Sena-BJP and the opposition Congress in the recent past after the civic body forwarded demolition orders of several of these buildings to respective ward offices.

BMC officials still don’t have a solution for the hundreds of BMC employees who live in these houses. The residents are unwilling to shift to Mahul, where they have been given temporary accommodation, as it would mean long hours of commute everyday to reach their respective places of work, and in the case of their children -- their school.

The Congress, which is the main opposition party, is keen to woo the displaced employees by supporting their cause. The party’s corporators are currently opposing the shifting of all residents of the dilapidated buildings to Mahul, arguing that it would seriously hamper the education of their children, who would have to commute for several hours just to reach school.

No space for accommodation
The ruling coalition says there is hardly any space left in the city to accommodate all the displaced BMC employees and also that there is no provision of a transit camp. But as a peace offering the civic administration, has in principle, agreed to arrange for a regular bus service from Mahul for all the displaced employees’ children, to ferry them to their respective schools.

The residents of at least 10 of the dilapidated/vacated buildings who have been issued notices but are yet to leave the premises, have now been told that demolition orders for their buildings have been issued. For instance, the Gautam Nagar housing society, the Rajwadkar estate, Tadwadi buildings and the Chembur SWM colony houses would be demolished by next week. The civic administration will be using its own staff to demolish these buildings and would carry out the demolition work under protection of the city police force.

Speaking to Sunday MiD DAY, Devendra Amberkar, leader of the opposition at BMC, said, “Our stand is very clear. Of course, people cannot live in buildings that may fall down at any moment. But shifting them so far away does not make sense. Afterseveral meetings, the BMC has agreed to our demand to make sure the education of the children is not hampered. They will arrange buses for all children from Mahul to their respective schools.”

Mohan Adtani, additional municipal commissioner, was not available for a comment.

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