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Damu Nagar residents’ demands rehabilitation at same place

India Fire
Gautam Korde

Residents are unhappy with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who had failed to visit the tragedy spot.
The victims of Damu Nagar fire incident are unhappy with the government for its failure to provide compensation and rehabilitate them. Even though Shiv Sena MLA Prakash Surve had urged the government to offer compensation of Rs one lakh for the victims but they want the administration to rebuild their houses. The one lakh compensation is a paltry amount which won’t be sufficient for residents to restart their lives. Locals have complained that as of now only 250 people have received compensation and 800 families are still waiting for it. Residents have to rely on two mobile toilets for sanitation purposes. They want the government to intervene in this matter and rehabilitate them as soon as possible.

Many of them are asking that when the government is providing houses to weaker sections under the slum rehabilitation scheme why they can’t be rehabilitated under similar schemes. Residents are also unhappy with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who had failed to visit the tragedy spot. The BJP-led State government has promised to build houses for all the victims, as well as a compensation of Rs four lakh to the families of the deceased but they say that this policy may not be implemented and might just remain on paper. Two people had died and 11 were injured in the fire.

AV spoke to the victims of Damu Nagar fire incident. Here is what they had to say.

Jyoti Sunil Shinde said, “I have been residing in Damu Nagar for a long period of time. I am working as a house maid and my husband is a rickshaw driver. The government must rebuild our houses.”

Anil Namdev Kamble said, “We have been staying here since 30 to 35 years. I am employed as a garment worker. We don’t want compensation of one lakh and instead the government must construct pucca houses for us. If our demands remain unfulfilled then we will protest against the government.”

Volunteers had come forward to offer utensils, clothes, food and other basic necessities to victims. However, victims have refused to accept old clothes, utensils and cheap quality foodgrains.

Amrapali Mhanske and Pratyaksha Darshi said, “I have two daughters. When the incident occurred, I and my children were at home. When fire broke out I and my children tried to escape from the spot. We have lost our important documents in the fire incident.”

Dhondabai Gavai said, “I have been residing here since 1965. The government has not implemented any welfare scheme for us. Even though we have incurred huge losses but the government has failed to rehabilitate us.”

Laxmi Sanjay Arakh, a housewife said, “We have been born here and our children too are studying here. The government must reconstruct our house or else we might commit suicide.”

The government had handed over a cheque of Rs 3,800 to each family which would enable them to meet their expenditure for one month but victims want their houses rebuilt. Many of them held protest near the local police chowky in Kandivali as they were being upset about the paltry amount received from the government.

Vijay Landge said, “I would like to thank those volunteers who had come forward to help us. I would also like to thank local MLA Prakash Surve for helping victims. The government must rehabilitate us within two months.”

Sarjevar Janardan Shinde said, “I have been residing here since 1987. The government must construct houses for us in the same locality. We are struggling for food, clothes and other basic amenities.”

Lakhan Madhukar Katarmal said, “The government has turned a blind eye towards this issue. We are being given false assurances by the administration. The government should rebuild our homes. So far we have only received Rs 3,800 for meeting our day to day needs. The government has failed to fulfil the promises made by it.”

A resident of Damu Nagar on the condition of anonymity said that the amount is not sufficient to meet people’s needs. “Earlier, when I learnt that local authorities were distributing cheques for providing financial assistance to us, I tried to get one. But as soon as I learnt that it was all just a formality, I returned as the money is quite insufficient.”

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