ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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BOMBAY-Keeping Them on the Move

 BOMBAY Keeping Them on the Move ONE of the major factors responsible for the defeat of the Congress in the March 1977 polls was the programme of slum- demolition it had undertaken under the cover of Emergency, as part of Sanjay Gandhi's 5-point programme. Emergency rule in Delhi had come to be epitomised by the Turkman Gate outrage. In Bombay too the demolition of Janata Colony and the shunting of its 72,000 inhabitants to Cheetah Camp was an important plank of election propaganda of the Janata party in both the Lok Sabha and the Assembly elections. Four months ago, while laying the foundation stone of a housing complex in Delhi for some of the victims of the Turkman Gate demolitions, Morarji Desai had categorically stated that such "merciless demolitions" would never occur again. Addressing the Zopadpatti Punarvasan Parishad in Bombay on April 30,1979, the Maharashtra chief minister too had expressed similar sentiments: "The state government will solve the issue only after a comprehensive formula is worked out in consultation with urban authorities, slumdwellers, and keeping in view of the general resources that can be mobilised for the task." However, recent developments have belied all such assurances. The state cabinet decided last month to demolish without exception all hutments in greater Bombay constructed after January 1, 1976. Such a step would cover almost two lakh slumdwellers in Bombay. Also, on May 9 an ordinance was issued which empowers the Bombay Municipal Corporation to demolish any slum with a 24-hours notice. According to the provisions of the ordinance no specific notice to individual hutment residents need be given; a mere general notice addressed to the entire colony would be adequate before commencing the demolition work. The recent demolitions in Prajasatta Nagar in Antop Hill and Jayaprakash Nagar at Curfe Parade have been thus duly sanctified by official approval.

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