February 21, 2005

Press Release - Zhopadi Bachao Sanyukt Kriti Samiti

Zhopadi Bachao Sanyukt Kriti Samiti
C/o Bhupesh Gupta Bhavan, Sayani Road, Prabhadevi, Mumbai-400025

Press Release: February 18, 2005

Decision to Legalise Slums Welcomed: Now Compensate

With the decision of the Government of Maharashtra to legalise the slums from
1995 to 2000, the struggle against the unjust demolition of 70,000 houses has
reached a new high.

We welcome this decision. This is a result of the strong resistance to the
demolitions and due to the direct intervention by Sonia Gandhi and Margaret
Alva, who gave a patient hearing to the poor unorganised sector workers along
with all the organisations involved in the struggle.
People thank all those Congress as well as NCP representatives who joined our
struggle and protested against the demolitions. However this should not have
happened, as this is a blatant violation of the pre - election promise given by the
present Government, leading to such a human-madeTsunami - like situation all
over Mumbai.

Keeping in mind the promise given during the election through its own manifesto,
it is the duty and responsibility of the government to compensate the affected
families for the damage to their houses, belongings and livelihood. With this
demand, all affected families affiliated to our movements will keep the
agitation going until our demands are met.

We strongly condemn the anti - poor and provocative pronouncements of the Shiv Sena,
which was supportive of the demolitions and against the destitutionalised Hindi and
Marathi speaking communities.

At the same time, we demand that the government should start a participatory,
people - oriented, just development planning process. It should also ensure
participation as well as their rightful share in the benefits of development.

We will continue our struggle for the alternative development, based on
decentralised and rural - focused development, alternative employment at the
village level to check the migration and equitable and just development by
linking the rural and urban poor.

Sanjay M. G. Raju Bhise Shakil Ahmad Medha Patkar