Mumbai | 15th June, 2015: Endorsing the demands of evictees of Mandala, Prof. Anand Kumar, national convener of Swaraj Abhiyan came in support of Awas Haq Satyagrah and promised to take forward the issue of Mandala across the country through their Abhiyan. The delegation of the Swaraj Abhiyan also include Sanjeev Sane, Shakil Ahmed, Shanti Mitya and Awdhesh Shukla from Maharashtra; Somnath Tripathi from Uttar Pradesh.

Prof. Kumar began his address to the peaceful agitators with a salute on behalf of Swaraj Abhiyan spread across the country. ‘’It is shameful that the government have no time to listen and address the problems of hungry and needy’’, said Prof. Kumar. He promised that the Swaraj Abhiyan would remain committed to support the struggles going on the ground. He announced that the Maharashtra wing of the Swaraj Abhiyan would approach the concerned authorities pertaining to the issue of Mandala in Maharashtra while another delegation at the national level would meet Mr. Venkiah Naidu, Minister of Urban Development demanding housing right for the evicted slum dwellers of Mandala. His announcement was highly applauded by the agitators.

It is the 21st day of the Awas Haq Satyagrah, where the evicted families of the Mandala are asserting for their housing right under continuous rain on the vacant lying land where their houses were demolished. There is a high risk of Malaria and other diseases due to water logging in the pits on the land. The BMC is continuously being reached for providing toilet facility but it has turned a deaf ear to this demand, allowing agitators for defecating in open. In the absence of response from BMC, five makeshift toilets were built for women by newly organized Mandala Yuva Manch (Mandala Youth Front), the previous day.

The present demand of the evictees of Mandala is that they should be allowed to construct kuchha houses until any policy for housing is formulated by the government. Housing Minister of Maharashtra, Mr. Prakash Mehta in the dialogue with the agitators assured them to give them houses by 2022 but that was immediately rejected by the Satyagrahis as they cannot afford to live with assurances anymore. They feel betrayed by the assurance given to them in these 11 years of their struggle for their housing right. Last assurance was to give them housing through Rajiv Awas Yojna, which has recently been shelved by NDA government. They are determined to take their housing right no matter how long it will take.

NAPM India