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Day 8: Government Agrees to Formation of Joint Committees with Civil Society Final Round of Negotiations on to Work Out Details

Government Agrees to Formation of Joint Committees with Civil Society

Final Round of Negotiations on to Work Out Details

May 27, Mumbai : With the call of Shri Prithviraj Chavan, CM Maharashtra last night to Medha Patkar, it seemed that the Government is going to relent to the demands of the movement. After days of fast by Medha Patkar and relay hunger strike by nearly 1200 people today at the dharna site and protests and demonstrations in different cities and thousands of letters and faxes to the CM, the Government of Maharashtra agreed to constitute two new joint Committees with the representatives of the civil society.

Earlier in a meeting with Chief Secretary on May 25 an agreement was reached, which got notified today included 1) accepting the proposal for 25 settlements and some more to be given in next few days to be declared as slums under the Maharashtra Slums Act, 1971 after due process within three moneht; b) a meeting chaired by the Chief Secretary to be convened along with NAPM members, Central Government officials and state officials on June 10 on the Rajeev Gandhi Awas Yojana; c) Activation of the existing High Powered Committee, chaired by Chief Secretary, appointed by Honourable HC in 2005 meant for reviewing the policies & recommend, amend or suggest new policies to government of Maharashtra.

Today morning the government representatives came with the draft copy of GR for the two Committees to be constituted, one, four member Committee for the Ganesh Krupa Society and another five member Committee to look in to 15 societies / bastis where 3K projects are to be implemented mostly in Golibar, Antop Hill, Ghatkopar West, Kurla, Andheri West, Bandra East and others.

GBGB and the Government Representatives had two round of discussions on this and then at six'o clock they finally left for further negotiations with the higher officials. We are still waiting to hear from them.

Meanwhile, there has been a report that a demand has been raised by Medha Patkar and GBGB that we want the review of the DCR 33/10 that is Slum Rehabilitation Scheme by the Committee that is to be appointed. We hereby confirm that no such demand has ever been raised during the fast and today when representatives of the Government of Maharashtra, Mr. Prakash Mahajan and Mr. Rokade came to the dharna site. They were given the revised and signed copy of the Government resolution (GR) with suggested changes by Medha Patkar, and no where it was mentioned that we want review of slum rehabilitation scheme by the said Committee.

We are of the view that this is being does intentionally by some bureaucrats who do not want that this people's initiatives of carrying forward the message of CM that builder raj be stopped. With this reasons only they are spreading wrong information and trying to sabotage the process.

We are still hopeful that we will be able to reach out a settlement which will benefit the lakhs of working class people of Mumbai living in low cost housing settlements. On 8th day of fast Medha Patkar's condition deteriorated and she complained of chest pain along with palpitation and weakness. Most of the day she was lying with very little occasional activity. She continued to vomit and complained of burning sensations after that. She has been unable to walk on her own and needs constant support. Syed Zuber who is now on the 4th day of hunger strike is developing signs of weakness but remains in high spirit. The fast continues.

Last night in a meeting of the activists, Ganesh Krupa Hosuing Society decided not to light fire in their kitchens, and also the community kitchen has been shut down from today onwards. In Kolkata a press conference was held in support of the movement where Mahashweta Devio, Kabir Suman, Sujato Bhadra, and others lent their support to the ongoing movement and demanded that Government of Maharashtra resolves the situation immediately.

Prerna Gaekwad, Santosh Daundkar, Deven Nair, Simpreet Singh

For details contact : Madhuresh Kumar (9818905316) | Mukta Srivastava 9969530060