Port revamp gets a boost, govt nod to resettle slums
MUMBAI: After more than a year of inaction, the ambitious overhaul of the eastern waterfront, in possession of the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT), may get back on track as the Union shipping ministry has given its nod to resettle slums on this land through Maharashtra’s Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) scheme.
The decision comes as relief for thousands of residents living in the slums inside the port trust who were often subjected to unannounced, sometimes violent demolition drives.
Resettling the slums will also end the major deadlock over the revamp of the 1,800- acre port trust land and pave the way for it to be transformed into open, green spaces and tourist attractions, and used for transport facilities and other social amenities.
In December 2014, a shipping ministry-appointed land development committee (LDC) headed by retired IAS officer Rani Jadhav submitted its report on how to revamp the port trust land. The panel proposed development of more than 1,000 of the 1,800 acres to ensure the city gets more public amenities, a 28km waterfront and a better quality of life.
The contentious issue of resettling the slums, however, brought the process to a standstill. The MbPT had initially declined to resettle the residents.
“We have directed MbPT to submit a proposal to us on reset- tling the slums on port trust land through Maharashtra government’s policies. Currently, they have the SRA scheme for slums in the city, and we believe this should be used for slums within MbPT too,” the Union minister for shipping, Nitin Gadkari, said in Parliament in response to a question by south Mumbai MP Arvind Sawant. He indicated the report the Jadhav-led LDC filed will be implemented. “We will push the committee’s plan to the cabinet for approval.”
What may make this move controversial is that SRA guidelines place a ‘cut-off ’ on slums that can be resettled.
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