Morlocks’ Sport: Demolish Urban Poor’s Dwellings.

The time traveler of H G Wells’ 1895 novel, The Time Machine, takes off on his maiden voyage into future only to land in seemingly paradisaical world of small, humanoid creatures called ‘Eloi’. Eloi are frail, peaceful, frolicking, and simple to the point of being simpleton. Initial euphoria over an idyllic future found soon descends into dystopia when the traveler realizes that Eloi are bred and nurtured for ultimate ‘harvesting’ by a frightful and Eloi-eating race of Morlocks. The latter have made subterranean innards of Earth their  industrious home, where they stay during the day afraid of the light, only to venture out at night for gorging on their favourite food.
One doesn’t have to travel far into the future to see a somewhat reversed vision of Wells in any of the urbanising cities of the so called developing nations. Reversed  in two senses, because here the hunter is lord of the surface and he would like to ‘disapparate’ the scores of ‘minions’, who attend to his myriad needs, out of sight once they are finished with attending to him; and also because Eloi here are not simpleton but often powerless in the face of mighty security apparatus of the Morlocks’ society and are consumed by the incessant propaganda and allure of Morlocks’ lifestyle. Take any city, say Mumbai. The business capital of India that is also heralded as the most cosmopolitan city. Here, the real Morlocks stay in habitats like these shown below.
While the Eloi’s are condemned to stay in shanties like these.
Morlocks cannot sustain their comfy lifestyles without the cheap labour of modern Eloi, who have to toil ceaselessly to keep the megalopolis humming. They cook, clean clothes, keep homes, wash cars, sweep streets, remove garbage, vend vegetables, supply milk, monger fish, run kiosks, run public transport, deliver newspapers, construct buildings (even demolish them), guard offices and gated communities, reach tiffin-boxes to offices and back, act as couriers, and do each and every small and seemingly insignificant activity without which the megalopolis will be asphyxiated. When Eloi are at work they are to Morlocks like much needed ventilator to an ICU patient, but when off work, they are like putrid eyesores, whose mere sight defiles the lives of ‘masters’. Eloi’s services are coveted, but their lives are abhorred.
That is why the Maharashtra state government and Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation routinely take avid pleasure in destroying the ‘homes’ of the today’s ‘Eloi’. Their destructive sport gets added edginess when yearly monsoon is about to engulf the city and heaps more misery on the top of homelessness. This is what the latest appeal, already too late, from National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), so movingly brings out.
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  Action alert!                        Action alert!                              Action alert!        
          Stop Brutal Demolition of Houses of poor in Mumbai
The monsoon is on the doorstep ready to make the situation a little worrisome in Mumbai but the authorities, as it seems, has decided to bring the worst for Ganpat Patil Nagar through their reckless planned decision to demolish it today. While 25000 families in GP Nagar have a sword hanging on their heads over last 4 months and while six deaths had occurred during brutal demolition in January, once again Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai is ready with the police force, this morning under disguised reason of ‘Mangrove protection’.  Adarsh Nagar and Indira Nagar in Govandi, Mumbai are also given a notice to vacate altogether 600-700 houses by June 4thtomorrow, in the name of naala building, drainage.
The local leaders of GP Nagar and activists have taken all pains to find out the documents and from discussions with the authorities that
  • ·        The forest department has given in writing that it has nothing to do with the demolition and there is no plan for Mangrove protection.
  • ·        There are no more than 10 houses within 50 meters from Mangrove.
  • ·     No judgment (in BEAG vs State of Maharashtra & others) has ever directed demolition of slums or any building but only directed protection of Mangrove since 2005.

GP Nagar slum was fully exiting in 2005as per Google maps. High pakka buildings are under construction since last few years, but no demolition of those is planned. The GP Nagar slum on one hand provided water supply and other basic amenities yet on the other hand, tried to be demolished.
The poor toiling their family belongings are unprotected workers, women, and children face atrocities whenever they lose their shelter. The NHRC has been appealed to intervene and so is the National Commission on Children. Yet they have neither indicated any identification nor has written to the state government.
The Govt. of Maharashtra promised in 2011 & even thereafter that slums will be declared as per section 4 of the Slums Act, 1971 and all amenities will be provided as per section 5 (A), yet without taking that process forward, poor people are being dishoused while whatever reserved for “Housing to the Dishoused” is being de-reserved and being diverted to non-justifiable purpose & to the elites, may it be for a judges cooperative or a shopping mall.
Including Ganpat Patil Nagar, all slums have applied for Rajiv Awas Yojana & are ready to take up self-development with 2009 as the cutoff date for RAY, as is being expected in Delhi. As regards to Adarsh Nagar and Indira Nagar, a very elaborate dialogue with the Assistant Commissioner, Mumbai, Eastward  Mr. Kishore Gandhi brought out that there was no map or plan prepared neither for required naala building nor of demolition. During the joint site visit by the Jr. Engineers and one representative on June 1st, it came out that not more than 4-8 houses were obstructing drainage and yet Jr. Engineer was adamant on demolition. All this indicates that the real purpose in each slum demolition seems to be not drainage or natural conservation but land grab.
Ghar Bachao- Ghar Banao Andolan, NAPM demands from both the State Govt. of Maharashtra and Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai that:
  1. 1.      Stop eviction of poor communities, including Ganpat Patil Nagar.
  2. 2.      Enquire into the Mangroves protection & encroachment in the framework of the judgments.
  3. 3.      Implement RAY with the funds and facilitation beginning with the pilot project proposed for Mandala community, Mankhurd.

GBGB, NAPM appeals to all sensitive supporters to write to the Municipal Commissioner, Shri Sitaram Kunte & C.M. of Maharashtra to stop brutal demolition today and not to make the poor shelterless, which is impingement to their right to life and not to commit atrocities against dalits in GP nagar and other communities.
                                                                                         Act before it’s late….
Shri Prithviraj Chavan,
Chief Minister,
Government of Maharashtra,
Mantrayala, Mumbai
Ph: 022-23634950
Sitaram Kunte, IAS
Municipal Commissioner
Office Address:
Municipal Commissioner
Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai
Municipal Head Office
Mahapalika Marg
Mumbai-400 001. 
 It was late, because the very next day, NAPM brought out what had conspired despite its appeal.
Brazen Violation of Existing Norms, Ongoing Investigations by Maharashtra Government in Mumbai
Houses Demolished just Before Start of Monsoon, Thousands Left to Fend for Themselves
Mumbai, June 4: With the onset of pre-monsoon, the slums in Mumbai have been witness to bulldozers and police brutality as today i.e 4th June saw bulldozers moving over the houses at Ganpat Patil Nagar, Sanjay Nagar, Indira Nagar, Adarsh Nagar – Mumbai. Around 250 houses were demolished at Ganpat Patil Nagar and more than 300 houses were broken down at Adarsh Nagar-Indira Nagar & Sanjay Nagar. As always, the police force was present in huge numbers and disrespectful to the protestors that included men, women, children and the aged, even the pregnant ladies were not excused of high handedness. With the onset of the monsoon, the vulnerability is increased as these families have no roof over their heads and their belongings either crushed or lying here and there.
The demolition drive at Ganpat Patil Nagar was done under the pretext of ‘protecting mangroves’ as per the orders of the Bombay High Court which not at all had said anything about demolishing slums. The over enthusiasm shown by the local MLA of Shiv Sena – Vinod Ghosalkar in demolishing this slum and evicting the families from the land exposes the nexus with the land mafia which wants to transform this locality into high rise buildings and towers. Even the Forest Department has informed that they do not want for demolition of slums but only protection of mangroves.
At Indira Nagar, Adarsh Nagar & Sanjay Nagar, the demolitions were done under the excuse of widening the nala (sewerage) but that remains an excuse only as last year also, during the same period a demolition drive was undertaken for the purpose of expanding the nala which never happened. Activist Siraj Ahmed was detained by the local police when he led the slum dwellers in protest to the demolition.
Most shocking and deplorable is the fact that in January this year, no less than the Chief Minister of Maharashtra & Chief Secretary had promised to under take a survey of the these settlement for the purpose of declaring them as slums and provisioning of basic amenities. Instead of water pipe lines and toilet blocks they have sent bulldozers and police force. It seems that the slogan of ‘slum free india’ is to be realised by bulldozing the existing slums and not be upgrading or resettling them.
It is apprehended that the demolition squad might again come tomorrow, though the slum dwellers are firm in their resolve to resist and fight against the bulldozers as well as the rules that make such deplorable acts possible.
Sumit Wajale           Siraj Ahmed             Sangeeta Kamble                Jamil Bhai
Contact : 9892727063

===============================================
National Alliance of People’s MovementsNational Office : 6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014
Phone : 011 26241167 / 24354737 Mobile : 09818905316
Web : www.napm-india.org
Twitter : @napmindia
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