Lottery for 8,000 homes for mill workers in 15 days
With elections next year, Maharashtra CM DevendraFadnavis announced on Monday that a lottery for 8,000 houses for mill workers will be announced in the next 15 days. Fadnavis made the announcement after the mills workers’ union met him with their long-pending demand. The 8,000 houses are located in Navi Mumbai near Panvel.
The chief minister also said a plot has been identified in Dombivli and will be handed over to the housing authority Mhada for construction of homes for the families of mill workers. “We have seen the site and approved it. The government will hand over the land to Mhada for construction,” said DattaIswalkar, a mill workers’ rights activist.
The Dombivli project can house another 33,000 families. Iswalkar said they led a protest to Fadnavis’s bungalow on December 19, when BJP leader Amit Shah was in Mumbai. “Giving mill workers their homes is not on the agenda of the BJP government at all. We had to take out a morcha to wake them up. I hope they keep their promises this time,” said Iswalkar, adding that 1.75 lakh mill workers are yet to be allotted homes.
The prompt announcement after the protests ties in with other announcements — like the Maratha quota and an attempt to start recruitment in government jobs under it — that political observers said were made with an eye on the coming elections Fadnavis has also asked government agencies to explore whether some housing stock created under other schemes can be kept aside for mill workers. MMRDA, too, has been asked to divert houses in some of its projects in Thane and nearby areas to mill workers. Nearly 12,000-15,000 workers have received houses since 2012.
Of them, 8,900 have got houses on the spot where the mill existed after redevelopment, but the others have had to move further north. Iswalkar said the sites they were identifying were out of the city because there is no land available in Mumbai and they have no option but to look out.
In 2012, the then government had decided to give homes to relatives of all the mills workers who had died during the Samyukta Maharashtra movement.
Only 10 families have received homes under the scheme so far.
Former CM VilasraoDeshmukh in 2006 brought an amendment in the Development Control Regulation (DCR) rule allowing onethird of land reservation for mill workers’ houses on open mill land area. “Only a small number of families has been rehabilitated on the site,” said Iswalkar, hinting that developers took advantage of the DCR clause by not demolishing the old mill structures, as there is a provision that if no new construction is done, land does not need to be kept for aside. Officials said during the tenure of earlier CM PrithvirajChavan, the first lottery for allotment of tenements gave away over 6,000 homes.