BMC's Unannounced Demolition Leaves Some Govandi Slum Residents Homeless

Residents of Panchsheel Nagar slum in Govandi protest against unannounced demolitions by BMC, demanding justice and proper procedure.

BMC's Unannounced Demolition Leaves Some Govandi Slum Residents Homeless

In an alleged unexpected event, the Panchsheel Nagar slum in Govandi, Mumbai, witnessed the demolition of 200–250 homes on February 6 and 7. The sudden action by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) left over 1,000 residents homeless. It has been reported that the demolition took place without prior notice.

Following the demolition, 500 residents staged a protest outside the BMC's M East ward office on Thursday morning, February 8. This led to a temporary seven-day halt to the demolition activities.

Activists have put forward some demands and asked the civic body to fulfil them in 7 days. These include holding hearings for objections, correcting incorrect data, stopping demolitions until proper procedures are followed, restoring utilities, and creating a list of eligible and ineligible slum dwellers.

Post-demolition, residents returned to their destroyed homes, sitting amidst the rubble under the sun. They found shelter at relatives' houses or slept in the chaos. A few homes were saved due to the protest.

Reports suggest that a notice was posted in the slum in August. However, it lacked any signature or BMC emblem. The NGO then submitted residents' eligibility documents to the M East office. Reportedly, they were informed that while the newer homes would be demolished, individuals living in the slum prior to the deadline would be unaffected.

On February 2, BMC made announcements about the demolition. But no other details were provided. Because of this, the people were not prepared and were met with surprise after seeing the bulldozers with police protection on February 6.

Even the homes of residents who lived there prior to the 2000 and 2011 deadlines were demolished. In a report by HT, JHSS vice president Vandana Tayade stated that the BMC had relocated them to this area over 20 years ago.

However, some residents admitted moving from neighbouring slums about three years ago due to increasing rent. They built their homes in this area, which was then filled with trees.

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