After initiating a major drive against illegal slums in the city, the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation has turned its attention to the slum mafia.
NMMC commissioner Tukaram Mundhe has ordered that police cases be filed against those indulging in illegal purchase and sale of hutments built on government-owned land.
Mundhe has also ordered that those who try to influence or come with recommendations following action on such illegal slums, too, should be booked as accomplices of the accused.
For years, the slum mafia has been active in the city, occupying government land especially in the MIDC area where areas are demarcated and shanties are built.
They are then sold to the poor for prices ranging from Rs25,000 to over Rs1 lakh. There have been allegations of political backing for such illegal actions.
Mundhe, during his walk with the commissioner initiative last Saturday at Yadav Nagar slums in Airoli, had given an indication of action being planned against illegal structures. Earlier this week, around 700 shanties in the MIDC area had been demolished.
Additional municipal commissioner Ankush Chavan said, “In the past, after demolition action, the slum mafia would once again get active. They would again encroach and cheat the poor into believing that they now had permanent houses as the issues had been resolved. They have been earning lakhs and crores of rupees.”
He added, “Instructions have been given by the anti-encroachment department to all the ward offices to register cases against the slum lords in their respective areas.”