Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam today exposed BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta of sanctioning the permission for amalgamation of the existing ‘Dhobi Ghat’ in Mumbai’s Mahalakshmi area, which is a 140-year old heritage site, with the adjacent Shri Ram and Hanuman Temple in the vicinity to be brought under the SRA Scheme and redeveloped under the Maharashtra Slum Areas (Improvement, Clearance and Redevelopment) Act, 1971.
Sanjay Nirupam said, “Mahalakshmi’s Dhobi Ghat is a 140-year-old heritage site. How can the Dhobi Ghat, Shri Ram and Hanuman temple and the fish market be recognised as slums? It is the plan of the BMC to demolish these elements of national heritage which is in turn depriving the locals of their sources of livelihood and their houses too. People hailing from different regional and cultural backgrounds reside here in harmony. Instead of redeveloping the actual slums of Mumbai, why are they redeveloping a heritage site?”
Sanjay Nirupam who met with the locals in the Dhobi Ghat said, “If the history of Mumbai is to be written, it cannot be complete in a true sense without stating the significance of the Dhobi Ghat. Unfortunately, some people are trying to erase this part of history of the city. The BMC Commissioner and some officials have formed a nexus with the private builders for their own vested interests. We will fight till the very end to ensure that the locals here neither lose their source of livelihood nor their homes”.
The Mumbai Congress Unit Chief, along with leader of Opposition in BMC Ravi Raja, met with the locals of the area and urged them to stand united and fight the corrupt BMC after they told Mr. Nirupam that the BMC Officials have restricted the locals from using cooking gas and parking vehicles like bicycles and motorbikes which play a crucial role in the daily functioning of the people here since many work as delivery men. The BMC officials and those from the concerned builder’s office have threatened the locals here to not use the ropes in the area to dry clothes too which has posed a challenge in front of them.
Sanjay Nirupam produced a letter dated August 13, 2018 which was written by Chief Engineer of Development Plan S.P. Darade to Architect Anand Dhokay proposing that the entire Dhobi Ghat, the existing temple and the surrounding open spaces spread over a total area of 2650 sq. mt be amalgamated and redeveloped under the SRA Scheme.