Port re­vamp gets a boost, govt nod to re­set­tle slums

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Ku­nal Puro­hit ku­nal.puro­hit@hin­dus­tan­times.com

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.

CON­TIN­UED ON P13

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