[Hpn] Homeless takes battle to court

William C. Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
Fri, 01 Feb 2008 13:59:32 -0500


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http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=3DNEWEN20080040064&ch=3D=
2/1/2008%203:32:00%20PM

      Homeless takes battle to court
    =20
     Dharmesh Thakkar

      Friday, February 1, 2008 (Mumbai)

      Thousands of displaced people in Mumbai have been cheated out of =
their homes twice over. They lost their homes decades ago due to various =
projects and now over 15,000 homes built for them have been illegally =
sold to others.

      A High Court lawyer uncovered the scam using the Right to =
Information Act. He has sent legal notices to the Chief Minister and the =
CEO of the Slum Rehabilitation Authority.

      In the half-broken homes lies the story of a multi-crore scam, one =
that's cheated more than 15,000 families out of the promise of a home.

      These are families whose homes were broken as part of the mammoth =
plans to make over Mumbai slum demolition and road-widening projects, =
people who were to be re-housed for free according to government rules.

      But a decade later, almost 15,000 families who lost their homes, =
are still waiting for a roof over their heads. Instead, private builders =
engaged to construct the flats and handing them to government agencies =
have allegedly sold these new houses to people willing to pay lakhs of =
rupees.

      Houses, which should have been given by the government agencies to =
the poor, have been displaced by various projects.

      ''Poor people who lost their homes to road cutting and other =
development projects are still waiting for their homes since last 7-8 =
years,'' said Sushan Kunjuraman, Advocate.

      Those who are waiting for their home are daily wage labourers like =
Mohammed Khan. His home in Mumbai's Juhu Lane was demolished for road =
widening in 1996 and he was promised a home in the adjacent Om Sai =
Darshan SRA project, which happens to be Mumbai's first slum =
redevelopment project with aid from the World Bank.

      ''My home was demolished for road widening and I was promised room =
in that SRA building but it has been sold to outsiders. The builder has =
cheated me,'' said Mohd Khan, affected by the project.

      The extent of the scam stretches across Mumbai.=20
        a.. Like the Nav Maharashtra Nagar project in Tardeo which =
displaced 483 people, zero have been rehoused there.=20
        b.. The Daulat Nagar Project in Santacruz which rendered 522 =
families homeless.=20
        c.. And the adjoining Khotwadi Bhimwada Project in Santacruz, =
which has left 1,274 without shelter.
      Of all the re-housing projects, it's those in prime locations like =
Tardeo, Santacruz and Andheri, which are major defaulters in housing =
those who have been dispossessed.=20

      Now, those who have been cheated out of their homes have taken =
their battle to court.
    =20


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      <DIV class=3DCaption>&nbsp;</DIV>
      <DIV class=3DCaption><STRONG>Homeless takes battle to =
court</STRONG></DIV>
      <DIV class=3DCaption>&nbsp;</DIV></SPAN></TD></TR>
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      <DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV></TD>
    <TD vAlign=3Dtop align=3Dleft>
      <DIV align=3Djustify>
      <DIV class=3Dbyline><SPAN id=3Dlblrepoter>
      <DIV class=3DByline>Dharmesh Thakkar</DIV>
      <DIV class=3DByline>&nbsp;</DIV></SPAN></DIV>
      <DIV class=3Ddateline><SPAN id=3Dlbldateline>
      <DIV class=3DDateline>Friday, February 1, 2008 (Mumbai)</DIV>
      <DIV class=3DDateline>&nbsp;</DIV></SPAN></DIV>
      <DIV class=3Dbodyline><SPAN id=3DlblStory>
      <DIV class=3DBodyline>Thousands of displaced people in Mumbai have =
been=20
      cheated out of their homes twice over. They lost their homes =
decades ago=20
      due to various projects and now over 15,000 homes built for them =
have been=20
      illegally sold to others.<BR><BR>A High Court lawyer uncovered the =
scam=20
      using the Right to Information Act. He has sent legal notices to =
the Chief=20
      Minister and the CEO of the Slum Rehabilitation =
Authority.<BR><BR>In the=20
      half-broken homes lies the story of a multi-crore scam, one that's =
cheated=20
      more than 15,000 families out of the promise of a =
home.<BR><BR>These are=20
      families whose homes were broken as part of the mammoth plans to =
make over=20
      Mumbai slum demolition and road-widening projects, people who were =
to be=20
      re-housed for free according to government rules.<BR><BR>But a =
decade=20
      later, almost 15,000 families who lost their homes, are still =
waiting for=20
      a roof over their heads. Instead, private builders engaged to =
construct=20
      the flats and handing them to government agencies have allegedly =
sold=20
      these new houses to people willing to pay lakhs of =
rupees.<BR><BR>Houses,=20
      which should have been given by the government agencies to the =
poor, have=20
      been displaced by various projects.<BR><BR>''Poor people who lost =
their=20
      homes to road cutting and other development projects are still =
waiting for=20
      their homes since last 7-8 years,'' said Sushan Kunjuraman,=20
      Advocate.<BR><BR>Those who are waiting for their home are daily =
wage=20
      labourers like Mohammed Khan. His home in Mumbai's Juhu Lane was=20
      demolished for road widening in 1996 and he was promised a home in =
the=20
      adjacent Om Sai Darshan SRA project, which happens to be Mumbai's =
first=20
      slum redevelopment project with aid from the World =
Bank.<BR><BR>''My home=20
      was demolished for road widening and I was promised room in that =
SRA=20
      building but it has been sold to outsiders. The builder has =
cheated me,''=20
      said Mohd Khan, affected by the project.<BR><BR>The extent of the =
scam=20
      stretches across Mumbai.=20
      <UL>
        <LI>Like the Nav Maharashtra Nagar project in Tardeo which =
displaced 483=20
        people, zero have been rehoused there.=20
        <LI>The Daulat Nagar Project in Santacruz which rendered 522 =
families=20
        homeless.=20
        <LI>And the adjoining Khotwadi Bhimwada Project in Santacruz, =
which has=20
        left 1,274 without shelter.</LI></UL>Of all the re-housing =
projects, it's=20
      those in prime locations like Tardeo, Santacruz and Andheri, which =
are=20
      major defaulters in housing those who have been dispossessed. =
<BR><BR>Now,=20
      those who have been cheated out of their homes have taken their =
battle to=20
      =
court.<BR></DIV></SPAN></DIV></DIV></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></DIV>
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