Another knock to the city

Congress led Maharashtra government recently announced the extension of the cut off date for regularising illegal encroachments in Mumbai to 2000 from the year 1995, just before the model code of conduct came into existence.

Just wondering, isnt there any way to just stop this? This is such a convenient way for the government to garner brownie points before every election.

By continuously extending dates and providing alternative accomodation to the encroachers, they are encouraging more and more squatting / encroachment in the city. Such moral hazard behaviour is encouraged as the date of slum regularising is extended continuously. Some real estate developer then comes into the picture by undertaking “rehabilitation schemes” for the squatters. The developer gets development rights in return which they exploit commercially elsewhere. The costs are huge with the little open spaces squatted up.

In the above chain, the politician benefits as he panders to his vote – bank, the squatters get free accomodation at the expense of the tax paying junta (who now might be cursing themselves for taking mortgages to buy homes), the real estate developer benefits as he rakes in the moolah by developing prime real estate in most cases. But the losers are the tax paying public and the city

In another story, apparently two ministers in the present government have stalled the rightful return of ~ 18 acres of Aarey land from a developer to the local authority.

The above stories sums up the sorry state of affairs and the plight of this great city. Cut – off dates for slum regularisation keep on getting extended, the original date being 1976 then 1985 then 1995 and now 2000. Encroachment in Aarey, the only sizable green stretch of the city left, is a serious issue, may be topic for another blog post. Politicians, most of whom are non – Mumbaikars, in their attempt to garner a few more votes are irrepairably damaging the city.


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