BMC files caveats to prevent stay on demolition drive
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As the civic body prepares to clear over 8,000 shanties from the city's footpaths, officials have, in order to preempt any delays in the demolition, filed over 1,200 caveats in various city courts over the past weeks. The caveats were filed to ensure that courts do not pass stay orders without hearing the BMC.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is aiming at October, what they consider the most 'practical' month, to launch much delayed but highly ambitious Mahatma Gandhi Path Kranti Yojana. Under this scheme, the BMC was to make city's pavements encroachment-free and relocate the squatters. An estimated 25,000 pavement dwellers were identified under the project in 2006 but the project been delayed due to legal hassles, said civic officials.
Aseem Gupta, Additional Municipal Commissioner, said, "Typically, when we send eviction notices to these pavement dwellers, they approach a court and get a stay order. But after the caveats are filed, the court cannot stay the demolition orders and will have to first hear our side".
"We are waiting for the monsoon to end, after which we will begin removal of these encroachments. We plan to complete the project within a month, after which it will be festival season when there will be a lot of opposition to the drive, said Gupta.
It is difficult to undertake demolition activity in November, December and January as these are festival months, after which March is usually examination time for students. With June, July and September being the monsoon season, it is difficult to remove families from their homes, said officials. Of the 8,000 families to be rehabilitated, only 4,000 will be allotted alternative accommodation by MMRDA . The rest do not fulfill the eligibility criteria of 1995, said officials.
Under the project, which has been clubbed with the road-widening and construction project, the BMC will clear around 2,000 structures between Sion and Mulund in the first phase. A compensation policy has already been devised by the BMC, under which either monetary compensation at the ready reckoner rate of the land value or other alternative accommodation will be provided by the civic administration. The civic body has kept aside Rs 300 crore for such projects.
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