9000 rehab homes vacant as PAPs rot in transit

Reported By Dilnaz Boga in dnaindia.com on, Sep 21, 2012,
9000 rehab homes vacant as PAPs rot in transit - Mumbai - DNA

Rafia Sultan (name changed) chokes up as she cooks by an overflowing gutter running outside the door her house in a transit camp at Mankhurd. “I was promised a home 12 years ago. That’s why I gave up my house near JJ Hospital. The government lied to us and now, it has forgotten us,” says the 64-year-old bitterly.

Sultan is among the hundreds of project-affected persons (PAPs) who are yet to be rehabilitated despite the availability of a large number of houses meant for them.

A right to information (RTI) query filed by researchers from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) before the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) reveals that there are more than 9,000 vacant apartments for rehabilitation of PAPs, who are allegedly suffering inhabitable conditions in transit camps.

The RTI reply reveals that of the 28,772 rehabilitation homes, only 19,440 have been allotted by various state agencies, like the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP), Mithi River Development Project (MRDP), Mumbai Urban Infrastructure Project (MUIP) and Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai. A total of 9,332 flats are lying vacant in rehabilitation hotspots in the Mankhurd belt, like Lallubhai Compound, Indian Oil Nagar, Vashi Naka and Gautam Nagar.

In defence, an MMRDA official says, “This could be because the individuals are not eligible for rehabilitation. A beneficiary can’t be an encroacher [on the land where s/he was moved out of]. If s/he is affected because of a project and has the necessary documents to support this claim, then s/he should approach the MMRDA.”

But, the TISS researchers say many PAPs have spent decades in transit camps despite having the necessary paperwork in place.

“What about people who were moved from south Mumbai in the 1970s? They are still living in transit camps,” says a researcher from M-ward, one of the most populated wards in the city, where there is one toilet for 87 people, with a wait time of over 14 hours, at 10 minutes per person.Sultan alleges that MMRDA officials have ignored her repeated queries about when she will be rehabilitated.

No tenements have been allotted to affected persons by authorities of the Metro rail and monorail projects in the city, the RTI reply reveals.

Sources say since the Metro and monorail run through the centre of the road, there may not be a need for rehabilitation. “If the person is affected, then the figures will be included in the road rehabilitation slot,” says an official of the agency.