An appeal from Golibar residents to move towards a ‘slum-free’ Mumbai

As Golibar residents wait for rehabilitation, citizens wonder what's holding the government back.

The deadline for the “Housing for All by 2022” Mission is a few months away, but we have some way to go.

I would like to draw public attention to a very critical subject – the land at Rifle Range Santa Cruz (CTS 12), Mumbai 400029 / 400055. It may not be critical for everybody but it definitely is for those residing on the land.

Defence land, Golibar

The land belongs to Air Force Station Mumbai, Ministry of Defence, Government of India as per the property card and records held by the Office of Defence Estate Officer, Mumbai. The said land was acquired from the Government of Maharashtra in the year 1964 for the use by Air Force Station Mumbai, Ministry of Defence. The area was a firing range in earlier days. Hence the name Golibar.

Golibar aerial view
Choc a block at Golibar. Pic: Rajesh Palkar

The residents of the area have been occupying this place prior to 1948. Most of the poor migrants who came to Mumbai from different parts of India, in search of livelihood were homeless at that time, and they settled here. Currently there are about 9,500 hutments, with about 45,000 people whose families started living here 40-50 years ago.

Read more: Mumbaikars were promised houses, but were they delivered?

Living conditions at Golibar

26th July 2005, the day of the Mumbai floods was an unforgettable experience for us. We were victims of the fury of the rain, and see ourselves as very fortunate to have survived that disaster. Our destiny however has not changed. The first rains of 2021 on 9th June brought back those memories. We were in deep waters again. Water-logging has been a regular occurrence. Our living environment is unhygienic and we lack basic civic facilities and amenities.

Golibar floods
Golibar, Patel Nagar, June 2021 floods. Pic: Rajesh Palkar
Golibar floods
Golibar, Patel Nagar, June 2021 floods. Pic: Rajesh Palkar
Golibar floods
Golibar, Patel Nagar, June 2021 floods. Pic: Rajesh Palkar

To highlight our issues of rehabilitation, residents of the area have, over the years, written several letters to people representatives at all levels in the country – Former Defence Minister Late Manohar Parrikar, Former Defence Minister Nirmala Sitaraman, Member of Parliament (North Central Mumbai) Poonam Mahajan, Member of Legislative Assembly (176, Vandre East) Trupti Sawant, Former Housing Minister Ravindra Waykar and also to the current Prime Minister’s Office.

Rehabilitation plans

The Government of Maharashtra has undertaken to make Mumbai slum free by the year 2022.

In this context, they had submitted a proposal for encroached Defence Land – 50% to Defence and 50% for the in-situ rehabilitation of encroachers. At a meeting between the Defence Minister and the Chief Minister of Maharashtra held on 4th March 2017, this proposal was accepted. As per the decisions taken at the meeting, the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) conducted a full biometric survey of residents of the 42 acres of the land starting from Golibar Colony, Santa Cruz (East), on 14th August 2018.

Letter about slum encroachment and rehabilitation
Letter about steps to be taken regarding slums on Defence Land, Sep 2017. Pic: Rajesh Palkar
Notice for biometric survey
Notice about biometric survey by SRA, Aug 2018. Pic: Rajesh Palkar

As per information we have gathered, the Government of Maharashtra is to set to up a committee consisting of Defence Estate Officer, a representative of the State Government and a representative of the Indian Air Force – to develop a workable plan of rehabilitation for the 9,500-odd hutments. This committee will need to submit the plan to the Defence Head Office (Ministry of Defence) and the Central Government for approval. The Ministry of Defence will then issue a No Objection Certificate to the Government of Maharashtra to go ahead with the redevelopment of the area.

Rehabilitation has been talked about for many years now. It is a human and social problem and must be dealt with as such and not in an over legalistic manner. We must not get discriminated on the basis of our earning source and low status. Now that our city is better prepared and equipped to tackle Covid-19, we need this project of rehabilitation to be given attention.

Our Golibar residents group, “Maze Ghar Pratishthan”, is regularly in touch with the local government authorities and we have been patiently waiting for the next steps to be taken. To our knowledge, the committee is yet to be formed. We urge the Government of Maharashtra to expedite the matter, towards a slum-free Maharashtra.

We are eagerly looking to the authorities to rehabilitate us in the same place with proper basic amenities, at the earliest. We hope that we will receive justice.

[As told to Citizen Matters Community Anchor, Arathi Manay Yajaman]

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  1. Mangesh Yerunkar says:

    Thanks a lot for bringing up our pivotal subject of defence land Santacruz – Khar rehabilitation to the larger group, we hope this will bring change and movement to this issue, we are looking for more support and help in future.

  2. VINOD RAWAT says:

    An appeal from Golibar residents to move towards a ‘slum-free’ Mumbai thanks for raisng this issue

  3. शैलेश राणे says:

    धन्यवाद आपण आमच्या विभागाची परिस्थिती अगदी तंतोतंत मांडलीत, गेली 60 वर्षे आम्ही या विभागात खूपच अवघड परिस्थितीत राहत आहोत, दरवर्षी पडणाऱ्या पावसात आमच्या विभागाची परिस्थिती तर खूपच कठीण असते, तसेच कोरोना महामारीमध्ये आम्हाला खूपच त्रास झाला, त्यासाठीच आमच्या विभागाचं लवकरात लवकर पुनर्वसन होणे गरजेचे आहे.
    तसेच अशीच आपली साथ आमच्या सोबत राहू दे.
    धन्यवाद !

  4. Rajesh Palkar says:

    ?*आभारी आहोत*?

    *झोपडपट्टीमुक्त मुंबई साठी सांताक्रूझ-खार पूर्व मधील संरक्षण दल भूभाग वासियांचे पुनर्वसनासाठी आवाहन*

    आज माझे घर प्रतिष्ठानच्या माध्यमातून *सिटीझन मॅटर* या लेखात आमच्या झोपडपट्टी पुनर्वसन संदर्भात अचूक भावना प्रसिद्ध करण्यात आल्या आहेत. पत्रकार सिटीझन मॅटर्स कम्युनिटी अँकर, *आरती मनाय याजामन* यांना माझे घर प्रतिष्ठानच्या वतीने आमच्या झोपडपट्टी पुनर्वसनसाठी मीडियाच्या मार्फत सरकार पर्यंत पोहचविण्यासाठी प्रयत्न केल्या बद्दल आम्ही सर्व रहिवासी खूप खूप आभारी आहोत.??

    राजेश पालकर
    *माझे घर प्रतिष्ठान*

  5. Sanjay Sawant says:

    आमचां पुनर्वसनाचा गंभीर प्रश्न अशा अल्पावधीत प्रकाशित करण्याच्यातुमच्या प्रयत्नांचेकौतक करतो, सखोल अभ्यास, अहवाल,विश्लेषण ही सोपी व पद्धतशीर प्रकिया केल्या बद्दल आपल्याplatfor कृतज्ञता व्यक्त करतो,
    नामांकित पेपरमध्ये आमच्याबद्दल लेख लिहिल्याबद्दल सिटीझन मॅटर्स टीमचे आभार

  6. विनायक जयराम गवस. says:

    मॅडम आपले धन्यवाद आपण आमचा मुद्दा खूपच चांगल्या प्रकारे पेपर मध्ये मंडलात आहेत. बरेच वर्षे आम्ही झोपडपट्टी पुनर्वसन व्हावे यासाठी लढत आहोत. आमचा आवाज सरकार पर्यंत पोहचण्यासाठी मदत झाली. कित्येक वर्षे या विभागात आम्ही राहत असून अनेक वेळा पाणी भरणे,डेंगू,लेप्टो,टीबी, कोरोना,मलेरिया,आशा अनेक रोगांना रोज सामोरे जावे लागते.दाटीवाटीने वस्ती असल्याने हवा,सूर्यप्रकाश,पाणी नाही.दिवस भर लाईट पंखा आशा प्रकारे जीवन जगत आहोत आज आपल्या माध्यमातून आशेचा किरण निर्माण आला आहे की या आर्टिकल मधून सरकार नक्की जागे होईल आणि लवकर पुनर्वसन होण्यास मदत होईल मी अपेक्षा करतोकी या पुढेही आपण आमचा विषय सातत्याने पेपर मध्ये मांडत राहावे आणि असेच सहकार्य करावे
    आपले खूप खूप धन्यवाद.



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