Government refuses to provide paid housing in rehabilitation scheme
MUMBAI: The state government has categorically rejected a favorable opinion given by the Department of Justice and Law that a hut owner on the first floor can be deemed unsafe and eligible for a paid alternative home. Therefore, this issue is likely to be well known in the coming municipal elections.
In the slum rehabilitation scheme, the Devendra Fadnavis government had decided to provide free houses till January 1, 2000 and then paid houses to the slum dwellers till January 1, 2011. At the same time, MP Gopal Shetty had insisted on providing alternative housing to slum dwellers living on the first floor of the hut. Fadnavis was also in favor of it. It was decided to seek the opinion of the Law and Justice Department in this regard. The department opined that the occupants of the attic on the hut, living on the first floor, are unprotected holders as per the ‘F’ section of the amended notification of the Hut Act, 2017 and are eligible for an alternative house. However, the decision was pending due to the implementation of the election code of conduct in the state.
MP Shetty resumed the follow-up. However, the then Chief Minister (Fadnavis) had sent Nasti back to the Housing Department without taking any decision. When the nasti was sent back to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray for a decision, he had discussed the matter with the Chief Secretary. Later, Principal Secretary, Housing, Milind Mhaiskar, in a letter to MP Shetty after discussions with the Chief Secretary, clarified that such hut owners could not be given alternative housing.
Opinion of Law and Justice Department
According to a government decision of 11 July 2001, the holder on the attic or first floor of the hut was ineligible for permanent rehabilitation. The High Court had given a similar decision. While giving final decision on the relevant petition on June 13, 2018, the High Court did not mention the Slum Act (Amendment) 2017 at all. According to Section 3B of the Slum Act, there are two groups, protected and unprotected. According to this, there is a provision to provide free house to the protected hut owner and free house to the unprotected hut owner. But under the amended law, hut owners living in the attic or first floor of the hut are unprotected. Therefore, they are eligible for a paid alternative home, the law and justice department said.
Attic or first floor hut owners are not independent hut owners. Therefore, it will not be possible to accept the request of such slum dwellers for free or paid rehabilitation flats in the slum rehabilitation scheme. However, they can be given the benefit of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.
– Milind Mhaiskar, Principal Secretary, Housing
As the Fadnavis government has approved the Slum Elimination and Reforms Act 2017, it needs to be implemented. The municipality has issued a circular to provide houses to the slum dwellers on the first floor. So what is the problem with the government
–Gopal Shetty, MP