Year after year, since nearly two decades, the residents in dilapidates homes, built by the City and Industrial Development Corporation Limited of Maharashtra (CIDCO) and declared unfit for human occupation, continue to live in these dangerous apartments, particularly the JN2 type apartments in Vashi.
The monsoon is back again this year, though Navi Mumbai was fortunately spared by the ‘Nisarg’ storm that marked the advent of the monsoon this year. Hundreds of families shifted to transit camps from these apartments over 20 years ago continue to live and/or die in the transit camps dreaming of Shifting back to their own house.
However, government apathy towards these bonafide residents, continue unabashed. The nation is reeling under the cruelty towards the brutal killing of a pregnant elephant in Palghat district of Kerala. And very rightly so. Such inhuman acts deserve no tolerance. In the same vein can human lives also be shown dignity and concern?
Should the plight of citizens, risking their lives and living in homes that could easily collapse on them any time, be a matter of grave responsibility, of both, the civic administration and the builder of these low quality structures (CIDCO) that were declared unfit for occupation within 15 years of giving possession to the residents.
The politicians kept promising new homes to these residents on the eve of every election and the residents found themselves fooled every time, often caught between the crossfire of vested interests to grab the spoils of the re-development cake. The bureaucrats kept toying with policies to serve these interests, with little purpose to rehabilitate the cheated residents. The bureaucrats make efficient policy making look like rocket science for them. Should they not be sacked if they are incapable of delivering what they are duty bound to and for what they are paid so well from the public exchequer?
This is CIDCO’s golden jubilee year. The CIDCO chief executive, Lokesh Chandra, should display more sensitivity to the issue and make an announcement, to protect these gullible residents from the re-development sharks and undertake constructing the same by reputed contractors. Earlier, CIDCO chiefs showed unprecedented enthusiasm in the international airport and SEZ projects, which undoubtedly were priorities for some sections that wielded political and economic power to dictate the development affairs of a rapidly developing urban region.
Lokesh Chandra added lustre to this growth plan when he laid stress on the beautification plan of the Belapur fort and talked about the development of the marina and jetties in the city. This marked an inclusive development agenda that was heart-warming.
However, the political developments in the State appears to have put the brakes on constructive decisions and actions. Even the IAS lobby gets caught in the political crossfire. Urgent implementations are put on hold and necessary actions delayed. The Centre – State conflict is at play. The apathy to solve issues is apparent. Even the Real Estate sector in the region is seeking quick intervention to combat the post COVID-19 lockdown scenario and avail the development opportunities in the wake of the airport, Nhava Sheva- Sewri link, Delhi- Mumbai Industrial Corridor and so many other upcoming projects that include a global university by Reliance.
Instead of the needed enthusiasm showing, the political divide between the Centre and the State, has bogged down the pace of growth, leaving much to be desired in urban planning, development and growth.