RTI: 10 yrs after JVLR, Powai's displaced tribals are still awaiting homes

Mar 07, 2018, 12:02 IST | A Correspondent

MMRDA has failed to do complete resettlement and rehabilitation of the tribal families staying on the premises of IIT, Powai affected due to construction of the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR), response to an RTI query has revealed

Huts on IIT-B's premises
Huts on IIT-B's premises

MMRDA has failed to do complete resettlement and rehabilitation of the tribal families staying on the premises of IIT, Powai affected due to construction of the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR), response to an RTI query has revealed.

Construction of JVLR affected nearly 10,559 sqm of land belonging to IIT-B. RTI activist Anil Galgali, who had filed the application, alleged, "Due to MMRDA's lackadaisical approach, 100 per cent completion of the widening of JVLR, as per the 2007 agreement between IIT-B and MMRDA, hasn't happened, and rehabilitation [of displaced tribals] is still pending."

Incomplete work
"I had sought information from the MMRDA and IIT-B regarding rehabilitation of adivasis living in the adivasi layouts. Assistant registrar of IIT-B, S L Dhivar, informed me that an agreement was executed between the institute and MMRDA in 2007, without any cost compensation for the former's 10,559-odd sqm affected due to the project. MMRDA merely paid R3.16 crore to IIT-B to shift its services from the affected portion. In 2011, MMRDA administration shifted 99 huts from the portion.

In 2013, the Ghatkopar deputy collector conducted a survey in the tribal hamlet of Perubag and Bhaangshila of Powai and noted 433 huts. IIT-B administration has been pushing MMRDA to get the hutments rehabilitated and the area vacated, but to no avail." Locals also claimed that there is presence of wild animals in the area, but lack of basic facilities is increasing chances of man-animal conflicts. A local said, "The government has stopped providing facilities and services in the layouts in view of this anticipated rehabilitation; so, we should be given houses at the earliest."

Calling CM
Galgali told mid-day, "CM Devendra Fadnavis had directed MMRDA in 2016 to immediately carry out the rehabilitation under the MUTP scheme, but the latter ignored it. This inaction has endangered lives of the adivasis living there. IIT-B has laid the blame on MMRDA's inordinate delay of over 10 years." Galgali has written to Fadnavis, questioning MMRDA's working style, and demanding that the adivasis be rehabilitated in the Nahur and Kanjurmarg PAP flats.

A senior MMRDA official said, "We have resettled and rehabilitated eligible project-affected people; but some encroachers are trying to raise the issue, saying their rehabilitation was not done. We will still verify their claims and take necessary steps."

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