Around 35 years ago, a wave of urbanisation swept over a clutch of villages and a mini city, which we know as Navi Mumbai today, was created. However, for the thousands of villagers who surrendered their land and civic facilities to make way for the development, and received a huge amount of money as compensations, did little to improve their economic condition. A recent government study shows that 68% of Navi Mumbai’s project-affected people blew up their compensation amount-the minimum amount comes to around Rs 30 lakh to 40 lakh-on things that can hardly be described as constructive. A whopping 81% of them admitted to CIDCO, the creators of Navi Mumbai, that they had spent most of the amount on upgrading their lifestyle by partying and buying vehicles and gold ornaments. Only 34% said they used it for education and business purposes. Today, 80% of these families survive on less than Rs 10,000 a month, and of them, 46% make the ends meet with less than Rs 5,000 a month. These are some of the results thrown up by a study conducted by Cidco with the help of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) to assess the impact of its compensation scheme on the socio-demographic and economic profile of project-affected people of the Navi Mumbai project. More than 900 families, comprising 5,254 members, were interviewed for the survey and a report was tabled a few weeks ago. About 70% of the project-affected people had sold off the land they received as rehabilitation to private builders, to make a quick buck. They also had their ancestral homes reconstructed into pucca buildings. Now they live in 1,000 sq-ft houses, but have a meagre income to fall back on. Although the literacy rate of the 14 villages of Navi Mumbai-Belpada, Kopra, Kamothe, Valvali, Asudgaon, Kalundre, Kalamboli, Roadpali, Taloja and Kharghar-is 94%, most have not studied beyond HSC. Their sorry state indirectly reveals a failure on CIDCO’s part to educate them about sustained financial management of the compensation amount, says the report. Bureau report – NMTV News.

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