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MIAL Asks Maharashtra Government To Rehabilitate Slum-Dwellers To Expedite Mumbai Airports Modernisation
December 22, 2011
MIAL Asks Maharashtra Government To Rehabilitate Slum-Dwellers To Expedite Mumbai Airport’s Modernisation


22 December 2011

The Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), which has been appointed to carry out the modernisation of the Mumbai airport, recently warned the state government that unless rehabilitation of slum-dwellers takes off, plans of modernisation may stay as just plans. In a presentation made by MIAL two weeks ago to Prithviraj Chavan, Chief Minister, Government of Maharashtra, the company brought to the notice of the government that slums are coming in the way of modernisation, especially work on the new international terminal and the elevated access road from the expressway to the terminal, and pressed for the immediate commencement of the slum rehabilitation programme.

According to a report by DNA, that’s easier said than done. Although nearly 80,000 families need to be rehabilitated, land for just about 18,000 houses is currently available. The Housing Development and Infrastructure Limited (HDIL), which has been entrusted with the task of constructing rehabilitation tenements, claims to have completed 85 per cent of the 18,000 houses at Kurla as part phase-one of the slum rehabilitation project.

But government sources tell a different tale: not only is phase one running much behind schedule, but government authorities have also failed to complete a survey of families eligible to get houses within the stipulated time. The MIAL had asked two plots — owned by the University of Mumbai and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation — to rehabilitate 68,000 more families, but the government turned down the demand. On the other hand, the allotment of tenements ready for possession could not be initiated as the survey of tenants is inching at a snail’s pace.

The suburban collector has surveyed only 10,909 families, of which only 3,116 are reportedly eligible as per norms of the Slum Rehabilitation Authority. “The survey work has been slowed down due to some technical difficulty. Unless the survey is completed, we cannot allot the tenements to slumdwellers,” said Nirmalkumar Deshmukh, Suburban Collector, Mumbai. The HDIL spokesperson refused to comment.

According to the original plan, the rehabilitation of all 85,000 families had to be completed by mid-2014. The first phase was supposed to be completed by late 2010. But going by the current pace of work and constraints on land availability, the rehabilitation is expected to be delayed further. Dominoes’ effect: the modernisation work of the international airport is bound to be affected.