The BMC is all set to seek the Supreme Courts nod to declare the work of rehabilitating slumdwellers living along the Tansa water supply mains in the city as a vital public project and thus extend the cut-off date for slumdwellers eligible for free rehousing from 1995 to January 1,2000. The representation will be made in the apex court next month.
With a High Court court ruling against extending the cut-off date for protecting slumdwellers beyond those who have settled up to January 1,1995,the state government had in the past approached the SC to declare other projects,such as the airport land slum rehabilitation plan,as vital public projects and thereby,permit rehousing slumdwellers who have settled before 2000.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Rajiv Jalota said,We will represent the matter in the Supreme Court and as it is a vital public project,we will request that the cut-off date of 2000 be granted. An official from the BMCs legal department said they will cite other vital infrastructure projects that have been given a green signal for rehabilitating slumdwellers up to 2000.
The civic administration had last month begun the project to remove slumdwellers from along the Tansa pipeline with a view to securing the water mains from pilferage. Slumdwellers living 10 metres on either side of the pipeline will be removed, said Jalota. The rehabilitation plan was earlier expected to be completed in four phases by 2015,but as the BMC has the required number of houses for the project-affected people,it hopes the project will be completed by 2012.
According to the initial survey conducted by the BMC,of the total 15,789 huts,8,760 are eligible as they were there before the cut-off date of 1995. According to officials,about 2,103 huts had come up between 1995 and 2000 for which eligibility is not clear.
The project is currently halted for the next few months due to protests. According to a senior official,the locals had protested that the rehabilitation should be done after the school exams. Jalota said,The rehabilitation will begin from May after the final exams in schools are over.
The BMC had initiated the project following a PIL filed by NGO Janhit Manch claiming that 20 per cent of the citys water supply was lost in theft,wastage or leakages because of squatters. Later,the court had ordered to constitute a committee comprising the Chief Secretary,Director General of Police,Municipal Commissioner and others to look into the problem.