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Mumbai: 4500 families protest against Medha Patkar

Last updated on: May 30, 2011 17:19 IST

4500 families protest against Medha Patkar

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Social activist Medha Patkar's interference in a slum redevelopment scheme at Golibar slum in Mumbai's Santa Cruz East suburb on Monday evoked protests from the nearly 4500 families residing in 45 cooperative housing societies scheduled for redevelopment in the area.

The protest march against Patkar was taken out from Santa Cruz East to the Mumbai Suburban Collector Office and Slum Redovelopment Authority Office in Bandra East.

Golibar is one of the 46 housing societies, which is slated to be demolished under the Slum Redevelopment Scheme, where 5,360 of a total of 7,350 families have been considered eligible for rehabilitation by the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority

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Image: Protest against Medha Patkar in Mumbai
Photographs: Sahil Salvi
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Patkar and several activists had been on a hunger strike since May 20 at the Golibar slum to protest against the eviction of slum dwellers from a 140-acre plot alloted to private developer Shivalik Ventures.

Patkar has been alleging that the consent of all slum dwellers was not procured and that many signatures were forced

However, residents of nearby cooperative housing societies are supporting the SRA project and the private developer.

They say that Patkar's support for the 100 families staying in the slum, some of whom are ineligible, has delayed the SRA project in the area.


Image: Golibar slum

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4500 families protest against Medha Patkar

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While sitting on her hunger strike, Patkar had said: "We are demanding that the state government scrap the controversial 3K clause of the Maharashtra Slum Areas Act, 1971, investigate all the projects sanctioned under section 3K and cease the demolitions of slums until then."

Under this 3K section, the state can directly award the project to a developer without acquiring the consent of 70 per cent of the slum dwellers, a mandatory requirement under other slum rehabilitation projects, Patkar said.

She claimed that signatures of Golibar slum-dwellers were forged on letters of consent given for a proposed SRA.


Image: Medha Patkar

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Giving into Patkar's demand for constituting an independent inquiry committee to look into SRA projects where conflict has arisen between people concerned and government authorities, the Maharashtra government appointed two panels, comprising government and civil society representatives.

The government also agreed to stay the demolition of houses in the Ganeshkripa Society in Santa Cruz till June 15.

The move though has not gone down with families in the remaining 45 societies. They hit the streets against Patkar and her supporters, claiming that just to support 100 slum dwellers, Patkar was not allowing rehabilitation of other 4,000 families


Photographs: Sahil Salvi
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