MUMBAI: Tenants of Goregaon‘s Patra Chawl have threatened to intensify their protests as the government-appointed one-man committee tasked to look into their rehabilitation is yet to give its report nearly 11 months after it was set up in January 2020.
After the Maha Vikas Aghadi government came to power, Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad had personally visited the project to understand the problems of the 672 tenants, and promised to rehabilitate them.
The tenants have been struggling without transit rent since 2017 when Guruashish Constructions, a subsidiary of HDIL, went into insolvency. The COVID-19 pandemic severely hit jobs and income levels for the tenants.
“At least two of our tenants ended their lives unable to cope with severe financial stress during the pandemic. But, the government is simply giving extensions to the one-man committee, which was supposed to give its recommendations within 15 days,” said a tenant.
The housing department issued a government resolution on January 16, 2020, appointing former chief secretary Johny Joseph’s committee to study and make recommendations on how to generate rent for the 672 tenants deprived of their homes and a plan for their rehabilitation.
The committee was also tasked to look at completion of 306 tenements that the developer was to hand over to MHADA for distribution through its lottery system. Two years ago, MHADA even allocated the tenements, but they are yet to be completed by the developer.
The committee was given a 15-day extension on February 12 through a GR. On July 24, another GR was issued extending by 30 days. On September 2, the government issued another GR which gave extension from August 1 till September 30. On October 16, another extension was given till November 30.
“In all these GR, the government says this is a final extension. So, a task which the government thought was expected to be completed in 15 days has taken 11 months, and still the report has not been submitted. We have now decided to start relay protest at the site in Goregaon, which will not end till the government acts on our demands,” said Makarand Parab, a part of the Patra Chawl Action Committee.
Government sources said due to the legal complications, the committee has not submitted its report, but the report was expected by the end of December.
The delay in rehabilitating the tenants will delay the possession of home buyers who have purchased apartments in two big projects of private developers, and HDIL’s sale component Meadows, which is also incomplete.
MHADA has said that the saleable components would be given Occupancy Certificate only after rehabilitation component is complete.