The Marathi Manoos who was honestly paying rent for their shelter went on strike and the migrants who built unauthorized huts on government roads and land became millionaires by getting permanent houses, but most of the officials who provided them with ration cards, electricity connection, water and voting cards were the local officials. These intruders have made one plus houses in slums and ironically, there are about 65,000 such slum houses that have ground plus one structure. Whenever there is some government scheme, these people get double benefits.
Sachidananda Shedge a writer, social worker and thinker said, “The magnificence of Girgaon and its mills were once considered as the jewel in the crown of Mumbai. Thousands of Marathi families from Konkan and other parts of the country came to Mumbai to earn their living. Mill workers were living in large numbers as tenants. Due to unions and strikes, Marathi workers were attracted to the mill area. The Marathi Manoos who were fighting with the mill owners were neglected by other industries. When Non-Marathi’s entered to fill the vacancies here the Marathi Manoos lost their ground and it is unfortunate that the political leaders and officials who helped these outsiders to strengthen and systematically harboured were also Marathi. The Marathi man from Chali literally came on the streets due to these strikes. Mills got closed. Malls and tall buildings began to erect in their place. At the same time, it is the tragedy of the Marathi people that the non-Marathi populace who were illegally building slums and living there was taking everything for granted.”
On the other hand, Mumbai’s Bandra West constituency legislator Ashish Shelar from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has made a demand to the Uddhav Thackeray’s government to regularize the first floor of slum houses. Shelar has made the demand in a bid to fulfil Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mission of housing for all by 2022. “If these structures are made legal, people residing there too will be able to get houses under the government scheme,” he said. Besides this, Shelar also wants a policy decision on providing separate light and water meter connections to families who have houses on the first floor in Koliwadas (fishermen community houses) and other slums. In Koliwadas also it’s a mixed population residing.
Commenting on his demand, Shelar justified, these tenants extended their houses vertically since the members of their family increased. To accommodate them, they have built an additional floor to their ground structure, which is legitimate.
Sonal Khanolkar, a social worker said, “Warnings are not new to the High Court’s stance on government positions. Earlier, the government had issued an ordinance to save the buildings in Ulhasnagar even after the High Court had given its verdict in the case in Ulhasnagar. Now, in the case of the accident in Malad, the government has expressed the view that it has made a big mistake by inserting the provisions of the Rehabilitation Act in the development regulations. He blamed the government’s policy on making it difficult to take action against illegal slum dwellers. Overall, the policy on slums on government land is decided by the state government, but the necessary role is administered by the municipality.”
Khanolkar further stated, “It is also important to check which class of people’s representatives controls the authority in the municipality. Municipal corporators, regardless of their party affiliation, seem to take care of the interests of their class while making strategic decisions. Elections of people’s representatives are also sponsored and even then we see who are the congregations kneeling around them, so it seems impossible to see a different picture than what is today.”
Dhananjay Shinde, Aam Aadmi Party, State Secretary said, “According to Article 21 of the Indian Constitution written by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, every Indian has the right to live with dignity. And it is the responsibility of the government to grant this right. A citizen of India can go and live in any corner of the country. That is the right given to the citizens by the constitution. Unfortunately, in the last 74 years since independence, the number of people moving from rural to urban areas has skyrocketed. Similarly, Mumbai, the financial capital of the country, has a large number of migrants. After coming to Mumbai, these poor citizens get employment but also the facilities required for a living are available in the city of Mumbai. Only Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore have developed in the last 74 years. But the overall development of rural areas is not seen. In cities like Bai, state government officials and Mumbai Municipal Corporation officials, with the help of local Rajka Rani, there are many cases of migrants officially protecting houses built on government land. For established politicians, this bunch of immigrants has formed as voters. Therefore, during the development work in the city, the houses of these urban migrant poor have been protected. The same has been provided in the law. This is a serious problem for the residents of the old slums in Mumbai. The problem of the citizens living in chali on a Pagdi system has become a very serious issue in Mumbai. The recently amended Tenant Act passed by the Central Government is both for the benefit of the owners and detrimental to the tenants. All the established political parties are responsible for this situation.”
“It is true that today the government is giving houses to outsiders through SRA scheme and also providing all the facilities, but the government does not give houses to ordinary Marathi families in Mumbai today because they will go to Virar, Panvel Kalyan. It is a great tragedy that outsiders break the law by building huts in the middle of Mumbai, but the government gives them a house. Today, the Marathi man in Mumbai is left with only medicine. If this wrong policy is not changed soon, the Marathi man will soon become extinct,” said Vishwanath Talekar a Mumbaikar from Sion.
Deepak Tarkar, a scriptwriter said, “How can the general public understand the problems of the government and how can the government understand the problems of the common people and solve them by staying in the system of government. Some arbitrary explanation can be easily made on this… but it will not be right… So before writing anything there is a need for proper investigation on this report. Media needs to be factual and more responsible while publishing such news.”