For close to 20 years 239 families have been homeless at Chembur's Amar Mahal Junction due to construction of Santa Cruz-Chembur Link Road and bureaucratic hurdles. They are waiting for the authorities to approve building plans so that they get their rightful due.
According to Mahendra Rokade, a resident of Raj Rajeshwari Housing Society talks of 356 families shifting to a building from the slum colonies began in 1995. But things didn't move much for the next six years.
In 2001, a survey of the plot was undertaken and in 2003, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) stayed construction of the buildings due to Santacruz Chembur Link Road project and added conditions to ensure the infrastructure project is completed.
Around 100 families were shifted to a transit camp at Pant Nagar, Ghatkopar, while the rest were staying at Chembur. Thereafter, 115 families became eligible as per MMRDA's rehabilitation policy and were given permanent alternate homes at Lalubhai Compound, Mankhurd.
Meanwhile, from 1995 to 2010, the Slum Rehabilitation project changed hands between three developers.
The present developer – Priya Construction – of the housing project was asked by the MMRDA to reconstruct a mosque, balwadi and public convenience, which was done in due course to clear way for Santacruz Chembur Link Road. But, the residential project to shift 239 families from slums to buildings did not get clearance.
Now several government agencies like the collectorate, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation among others are trying their best to delay the project by recalling rules and demanding documents.
"I want to finish off with this project, but the authorities are demanding all sorts of documents and approvals. They cooperated when the mosque, balwadi and the public convenience was to be made. Now that government's work (of clearing way for Santacruz Chembur Link Road) is done the cooperation has been withdrawn," said Dhaval Desai from Priya Construction.