Mill workers protest outside Rangsharda hall, Bandra and demanded that they should be rehabilitated within the city.
Mill workers are unhappy with the state government’s decision to allot them houses on the outskirts of Mumbai. Workers strongly condemned the decision and held a dharna outside Rangsharda hall Bandra where MHADA lottery results were announced and demanded that they should be provided houses within Mumbai. Most of the mill workers were residing in chawls in central Mumbai however after the closure of mills many of them were rendered jobless. New housing complexes and malls were constructed on the area where mills were functioning earlier. After the construction boom began mill workers are now worried that they might be rehabilitated outside the city limits. Many of them are unwilling to relocate to Kone village near Panvel.
The results of MHADA lottery were announced on Friday for providing affordable housing to mill workers. The institution has constructed 2,417 houses in Kone village, Panvel. Maharashtra housing minister Prakash Mehta, Ravindra Waikar, Minister for Higher and Technical Education, Industries Minister Subhash Desai and Mumbai BJP Chief Ashish Shelar were present on this occasion. Mill workers started protesting and demanded that they be provided houses within the city itself. Since none of the minister tried to intervene in this matter mill workers became angry.
“The former Democratic Front government had agreed to give free land to those mill workers who did not want a house in Mumbai. However, they had failed to implement this decision. Around 1.5 lakh mill workers are eligible for housing. We have been holding protests for a long period of time,” said a former mill worker.
“We should be provided houses inside Mumbai city and we won’t relocate to any other location outside the metropolis. If the state government fails to address this issue then we will intensify our agitation,” said another mill worker.
Earlier even Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had said that every mill worker will get a home in Mumbai but the promise remains unfulfilled. A total of 1.84 lakh mill workers were affected by the demise of the city’s textile industry.
Mumbai had flourishing textile mills occupying prime land in the island city in the 1980s. A strike by millworkers’ union, demanding a hike in wages, in 1982 and the stiff stand taken by the mill owners dealt a blow to the mills, destroying the livelihood of lakhs of workers. The government then decided to reserve some portion of the plots for affordable housing and open spaces.