City anchor: BMC’s demolition men take to the streets

More than 1,000 people were displaced after BMC demolished 281 pavement settlements — 176 on Tuesday and 105 on Wednesday — in Byculla under Mahatma Gandhi Pathkranti Yojana.

Settlements on footpaths outside Byculla (West) Railway Station were the first to be brought down and the demolition continued up to Bakri Adda in Chinchpokli Corner.

Most of the destroyed structures were pucca houses. Occupants of 180 legal structures that were razed have been provided alternative accommodation in Chembur.

"Notices were sent to the residents in 2010. All procedures for eviction and demolition were followed. Alternative accommodation in the form of flats in Chembur has been provided to those entitled," said assistant municipal commissioner of E ward Anand Waghralkar.

Chairperson of E ward Waqarunnisa Ansari, however, said: "It is an extremely inconsiderate move on the part of BMC to displace these people before Diwali. Alternative accommodation has been provided in a place that has no connectivity with markets or hospitals."

Officials of the roads department visited the site on Wednesday and the road widening is expected to begin Thursday.

"We plan to reduce the width of the footpath to deter encroachments and consequently increase carriageway of roads," said a senior civic official.

Under Mahatma Gandhi Pathkranti Yojana, BMC plans to make city pavements encroachment-free. Close to 25,000 pavement-dwellers were identified in 2006, but the project launch kept getting delayed.

All for a good drive

176 structures brought down on Tuesday, 105 on Wednesday

Most of the destroyed structures were pucca houses made of bricks

Occupants of 180 legal structures that were razed have been provided alternative accommodation in Chembur

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