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Shiv Sena wants illegal slums till BMC election?

The party has demanded the regularisation of those slums whose height is 20 feet.

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With an eye on the upcoming Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) election Shiv Sena has opposed the demolition of slums above 14 feet. Since more than 60 per cent of Mumbai’s population reside in slums and these voters decide the electoral fortunes of political parties hence the party is trying to lure them. Even though Shiv Sena, Congress and Samajwadi party have ideological differences but these parties share same views pertaining to increasing the height of slums from 14 feet to 20 feet. Interestingly in 2014, Sena had opposed the Congress-NCP alliance’s move to extend the cut-off date of hutments upto 2,000.

After the Behrampada slum collapse incident the BMC had issued notice to those residents staying in slums whose height exceeded beyond 14 feet. The civic body officials had started the work of razing illegal slums in Mumbai but they had to face stiff opposition from local residents and Shiv Sena, who is ruling the BMC.

“We are opposing the demolition of slums whose height surpasses more than 14 feet. Our party also has demanded the regularisation of those slums whose height touches 20 feet,” said a corporator from Shiv Sena who doesn’t want to be identified.

Even Congress has demanded that the civic body allow shanties and slums to grow as tall as 20 feet and the state regularise them. Earlier opposition leader in BMC Pravin Chedda had pitched for vertical growth of slums in the city. He said, “Mumbai is facing space crunch hence it is necessary to raise the height of slums for accommodating more people. Small slums hutments lack enough space to house more people.”

President of the state SP unit, Abu Azmi, said, “There is a lot of unrest among slum dwellers over BMC’s move to demolish slums above 14 feet. Civic officials should not have allowed these structures to come up in the first place. Instead of taking action against these officials, the civic body is targeting poor slum dwellers”.

On the other hand, BJP and MNS is favour of razing illegal structures whose height exceeds more than 14 feet.

According to BJP if the BMC is following the rules while razing illegal structures then the civic body must be allowed to perform its job and nobody should come forward to stall it. If anybody wants to halt the demolition of the slums whose height exceeds more than 14 feet then they will have to seek the permission of the state government as the BMC doesn’t have powers to make legislation in this regard.

A senior civic official from the municipal commissioner’s office said, “Though there are discussions going on in relation to this matter. We haven’t taken any official stand yet. The step is to drum up support from slum dwellers before the civic elections.”

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