Apr 27 2016 : The Times of India (Mumbai)
Residential and commercial tenants on Mumbai Port Trust (MPT) land between Colaba and Wadala are on the edge, as they fear they will be evicted by their landlord. On Tuesday , hundreds of tenants held a protest meeting organized by the South Mumbai district Congress Committee.
Since some time now, the MPT has been issuing termination notices to its tenants. Last year, tenants of Nazir building in Ballard Estate were forcibly evicted by port trust officials, who were accompanied by police personnel. “Sixty occupants were thrown out on the roads last May ,“ said Pervez Cooper, a tenant of the building. “The Public Premises Act is being misused by the government to throw out tenants. Many buildings will be similarly targeted,“ he warned. “Smart cities cannot be built on the graves of the common man.“
“Ever since the NDA government came to power in Delhi, it wants to see legitimate tenants as encroachers. The mini stry wants to just monetize its land. But what good is the land if you throw out the people,“ said Deora. The former south Mumbai MP , where majority of the tenants reside, said the Centre will not budge unless there is public pressure.
Advocate Viren Asar said public sector institutions like MPT and nationalized banks have been openly flouting court judgments affording protection to tenants. “They cannot arbitrarily increase rent and charge market rates on tenants,“ he said, adding that once a termination notice is served, the tenant suddenly becomes an “unauthorized occupant“.
Congress MLA Amin Patel said the Centre’s single-point agenda was to evict families, who have been residing since a century . “Earlier, the state government attempted to tweak the Rent Control Act, which would have dishoused lakhs of tenants in the island city,“ he said.