Irla nullah encroachment issue creates furore in BMC
Mumbai, July 17 (UNI) The issue of Irla nullah took the centrestage in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) today, with independent councillor Adolf D'Souza and ruling Shiv Sena-BJP corporators demanding removal of encroachment on the nullah even as Congress corporators opposed the move.
Last week, the BMC authorities had carried out a demolition drive around the Irla nullah, but it was put on hold after Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh intervened in the matter.
Mr Deshmukh, who intervened on behalf of MP from North West Mumbai Priya Dutt and MLAs Ashok Jadhav and Baldev Khosa, instructed the BMC Municipal Commissioner Jairaj Pathak to halt the drive.
Leader of Opposition in the BMC Raj Hans Singh said ''The slums belong to poor people, who should be allowed to stay for 4 months till the monsoon is over, so that the slum dwellers can look for other alternate accomodation.'' BJP corporator Bhalchandra Shirsat said the vote bank politics should not be done in this particular matter, as it involves the cleaning of the drains, which will benefit the citizens of Mumbai.
Mr Shirsat said the slum dwellers should be shifted to transit camps till the monsoon gets over and removed from here as it will hamper the cleaning of the drains.
Congress corporator Geeta Yadav said there is no harm in allowing the slum dwellers to live there for a few more months till the monsoon is over, on humanitarian grounds.
Leader of the House Sunil Prabhu said the Maharashtra government had promised to rehabilitate around 10,000 project affected people (PAP) but has so far rehabilitated only 175 PAP's and will not be able to rehabilitate these people and the slums will become permanent, hence they should be removed.
Following this development, Mr D'Souza, a local councillor from Juhu Vile Parle Development Scheme (JVPDS), said he and the resident welfare association there are contemplating a judicial intervention over the removal of illegal slums over the Irla nullah.
''We will approach the Bombay High Court to direct the authorities remove the slums in and around Irla naullah,'' he said.
There were around 207 slums in and around the nullah, and the problem is spreading further up to Borivali and even beyond, he added.