Airport slum dwellers to be rehabilitated in situ: CM

Thursday 15th March, 2018

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Airport slum dwellers to be rehabilitated in situ: CM
| Chaitanya.Marpakwar
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In a big relief to lakhs of slum dwellers living on the land near the Chhatrapati Shivaji International (CSI) airport in Andheri and the Juhu airport, Chief Minister Devendra Fad-navis on Wednesday announced that they would be rehabilitated in situ (in the same place). Fadnavis made the announcement in the state Assembly.
Fadnavis's announcement has put an end to fears that owing to objections from the Airports Authority of India (AAI), slum dwellers housed on the land near the airport would have to be moved out. Opposing any move to evict them, the slum dwellers were demanding in situ rehabilitation.
Last month, the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) began carrying out a biometric survey of the
Over one lakh people housed in shanties on airport land will benefit from the state government's decision
residents of a slum on Juhu airport. A section of slum dwellers had believed that the survey was for ex-situ (off site). The CM clarified on Wednesday that all rehabilitations will be in-situ.
The SRA had sought permission to carry out the survey in May 2016. In two letters to the SRA's chief executive
officer, the AAI consented to "a feasibility study on ex-situ rehab".
"The decision for in-situ rehabilitation of slum dwellers on airport land has already been taken. Earlier, there were some issues related to rehabilitation since many slum dwellers were ineligible. Only a third of the people
were eligible. But due to our new dispensation of covering them under Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana with a recent amendment, that issue is resolved. Once the amendment receives assent from the President, we will begin the process for in-situ rehabilitation," Fadnavis told the Assembly.
Last month, the supervisor of a slum survey team was arrested for extorting money from residents of Nehru Nagar slum settlement on Juhu airport, which is spread over 30 acres of the airport's 385-acre sprawl. The slum survey team was part of MahaOnline, a private agency appointed by the SRA to carry out a biometric survey.
Ameet Satam, BJP legislator from Andheri (West), who had raised the issue in the Assembly last week said that this was a big victory. "With the CM declaring that there will be in-situ rehabilitation, the SRA scheme can
now be fast tracked; it is a big relief to lakhs of slum dwellers and will pave the way for slum free airport land. This will be a landmark in affordable housing initiative. The SRA must fast track the survey and begin the redevelopment. It's a welcome move that all slum dwellers will get homes on the same land," Satam said.
According to officials, there are more than one lakh slum dwellers in slum pockets of Nehru Nagar, Indira Nagar and Shivaji Nagar near the Juhu airport while there are large slum pockets in Andheri (East), Chandivali and Vile Parle, around the CSI airport.
"This is a big victory for our 15-year fight. The previous government wanted to parcel all the land in favour of private developers. Due to CM Fadnavis a big scam has been averted. Now, the slum dwellers will get their rightful homes," said Parag Alvani, BJP legislator from Vile Parle.