While residents of several nodes are facing several problems due to the illegal encroachment in their area, the new Standing Committee Chairman’s priority for slums could shield illegal encroachment in the city. Slums are several corners of the city are vote banks. A clear indication being that 30 out of the 90 corporators in the NMMC including the mayor are elected from the slum pockets in the city. These slums are in the nodes of Nerul, CBD Belapur, Koperkhairane, Ghansoli, Panvel and other regions. Since these slums are potential vote backs, politicians patronize them. As a result, once can see fresh slums cropping up in several recently developed nodes of the city. Navi Mumbai News has been airing reports on how the slums, which have come in the city off late are causing inconvenience to local residents of the area, but despite their complaints, authorities do not take action due to obvious political reasons. For instance at Ghansoli and Sanpada, residents face inconvenience due to the slums in their area. At Sanpada, residents informed us that the illegal encroachments have made living in this area a horrifying experience. The dwellers here take bath in the morning in the open, which evidently leads to water clogging in the area. The stagnant water have adds to the mosquito menace in the area. Residents of the area say that those living in the hutments use another open plot in the area for attending nature’s call. And on several days, they sit and play cards on footpaths making it very difficult for the women, girls and children living in the nearby societies. Apart from this they smoke and drink and pass remarks and enter into squabbles. The state government has taken stringent measures to not regularize slums that have come post 2000. But despite this and the fact that Navi Mumbai is a 21st century city, politicians claim that there are only a few slum pockets,. However the city sees continuous increase in the number of illegal slums. With the new Standing Committee Chairman Vijay Chougele voicing development of slums as his top priority, it is worry factor for tax payers’ as they will have to bear the brunt of the infrastructural cost of the development of these illegal slums as legal settlement. Navi Mumbai News has taken up the issue with several authorities. Guardian Minister Ganesh Naik diplomatically replied to the growing concern of illegal slums and said whatever will be the state’s stance, the same will be his in context to Navi Mumbai. CIDCO MD Ashok Sinha however, accepted that illegal slums are on the rise. The Chief of the developing authority of Navi Mumbai said that they are planning to chalk out a plan and take action against them.
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