The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) launched a demolition drive on Tuesday to eradicate illegal encroachments in Govandi's Tata Nagar area.
The move, aimed at reclaiming BMC-owned land, witnessed the removal of unauthorised structures to pave the way for the construction of a proposed BMC hostel.
According to BMC officials, the land targeted for the demolition belongs to the municipal corporation, and the action was necessary to clear the area for the designated construction project.
Bulldozers were deployed on Tuesday afternoon to dismantle the unauthorised structures, predominantly constructed of tin.
However, residents affected by the demolition claimed they were caught off guard, alleging that the BMC did not provide any prior notice, thereby rendering them homeless. Responding to these claims, an official from the M/East ward, encompassing Govandi, clarified that the demolition was conducted on BMC-owned property, which had been encroached upon repeatedly despite previous demolition drives.
"This is a BMC plot under the estate department's jurisdiction. Numerous unauthorised structures had proliferated on this BMC-owned plot, despite previous demolition attempts. The recent demolition drive was carried out in compliance with orders to address this persistent issue," stated the official.
Residents and activists highlighted the plight of nearly 300 families residing in the area, primarily comprising Dalits, Buddhists, and Muslims. The demolition has sparked concerns about the displacement of vulnerable communities and the lack of adequate resettlement measures.
The BMC's demolition drive underscores ongoing efforts to reclaim public land from encroachers and prevent unauthorised construction, aiming to maintain urban planning integrity and facilitate essential infrastructure projects.
However, the sudden demolition without prior notice has raised questions about transparency and accountability in the civic body's actions, prompting calls for a more inclusive and compassionate approach to urban development.