On 17th July 2018, MLA Aslam Shaikh of Malad Vidhan Sabha constituency, raised the issue of Gaothans in Mumbai in the ongoing Maharashtra Assembly session at Nagpur and elaborated and discussed the various issues of Gaothans situated in Mumbai.
He stressed on the issues pertaining to those in his own constituency of the Malad Vidhan Sabha area like Madh Island, Bhati, Erangal, Aksa, Marve, Malwani, Kharodi, Dharoli and Manori, stating that they are all part of his own constituency and he has first hand information about the problems and issues facing the Gaothans.
All these Gaothan villages are neglected by the authorities and are being treated as slums. The Gaothans are the original heritage sites of Mumbai and the residents of the Gaothans are the original inhabitants of Mumbai.
For the better development of Gaothans, Shaikh demanded proper representation in the upcoming New DP (Development Plan)
Shaikh raised points of priority to revise the DP and implement policies for a better future of Gaothans as soon as possible keeping in mind their unique culture and traditions.
He stressed that justice should be done to original Bhoomi Putra or original inhabitants of Mumbai.
According to an activist Greg Pereira, “MLA Aslam Shaikh’s speech was more centered on the Gaothans and Koliwadas missing from the DP 2034, which need to be marked as they were, in the earlier DP.”
“The BMC has failed to do so, marking many Gaothans as slums, in spite of many objections filed by the community.
Shaikh’s one particular sentence about the GAOTHAN POLICY attracted my attention. Due to the lack of such a policy in existence, many of the people affected by land acquisition for road widening are being given resettlement options under the existing SRA policy, which is not acceptable to us.
The case in question is, recent demolition of Gaothan houses in Kharodi. We have been writing to various authorities, including the Chief Minister’s office, to bring in a policy for Gaothans, under which the residents can be resettled.
The residents in Gaothans are not encroachers on government land. They have been living on land, owned by their ancestors for over a century. They have documents to prove their bonafides and are regularly paying taxes to government, unlike slum dwellers. It is therefore, unfair to treat the origial inhabitants or the sons of the soil at par with slum dwellers.
Resettling the Gaothan inhabitants under SRA norms, even one or a couple of them, taints their image and reeks of injustice, opined Greg Pereira.
Watch the speech by MLA Aslam Shaikh below: