Civil society groups in Maharashtra bring out ‘manifesto’ of demands

[] Prior to the assembly elections in the state, civil society groups in Maharashtra have come out with a ‘manifesto’, drawing the attention of politicians to 100 different demands across 12 domains

With just a few days left for the Maharashtra assembly elections, some civil society groups in the state have come out with a document titled ‘Maharashtra Urban Citizen’s Manifesto 2019’, which seeks the creation of inclusive and sustainable urban spaces, finalisation of the Maharashtra housing policy and guaranteed minimum wages not less than Rs 18,000, among other things. The manifesto was collectively prepared by 39 NGOs and other groups in the state, including Pani Haq Samiti, Maharasthra Beghar Abhiyan, Centre For Promoting Democracy and Right to Pee.

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Sitaram Shelar, convener of Pani Haq Samiti, said the document runs into 16 pages. “After preparing the manifesto, we met heads of all the parties last week and requested them to incorporate our demands in their poll manifestos. A few parties found our document worthy and borrowed some of our points. We are now hitting the streets to sensitise the voters. Our manifesto includes issues related to 12 different domains, including land and housing, urban governance, transgender community, homeless people, environment and ecology, transport and mobility,” he said. The document also lists other demands, including a detailed report on human settlements in Maharashtra, to assess the number of vacant houses and effective implementation of the Maharashtra Youth Policy. Voting for the 288-member Maharashtra assembly will be held on 21 October, 2019 and the results will be declared on October 24.

Residents in Mumbai’s Chembur to boycott assembly elections, to protest stuck redevelopment of their societies

With the redevelopment of their buildings stuck for years, the residents of 22 housing societies in Mumbai’s Chembur area, have decided to boycott the Maharashtra assembly elections, to air their grievances

October 14, 2019: Residents of 22 housing societies in suburban Chembur, in Mumbai, have decided to boycott the October 21, 2019, Maharashtra elections, to air their grievances about a builder not completing the redevelopment of their buildings for years. The Subhash Nagar Cooperative Housing Union decided in its Annual General Body meeting recently that 465 families from these societies will not cast votes.

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Several pleas made to the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA), which supervises such redevelopment and the state government, fell on deaf ears, said the union’s secretary, Ashwini Kumar Mishra, on October 12, 2019.

The builder had agreed to redevelop these buildings, which are over 35 years old, in 2003 and accordingly, six buildings were redeveloped, it said. However, after the construction firm’s head died in 2008, the work has made little progress, he said. The builder, who initially paid them rent, so that they could live elsewhere till the redevelopment was complete, stopped paying later, forcing the residents to move back to their rickety buildings, Mishra said. They have written to leaders of all political parties about their decision to boycott the polls, he said.

No home, no votes: Noida flat buyers pledge to use NOTA option in LS elections

Peeved over delays in getting possession of flats, a section of home buyers in Noida and Greater Noida have started an initiative, pledging to use the NOTA (none of the above) options, instead of voting for any candidate in the Lok Sabha elections

March 25, 2019: Flat buyers under a registered umbrella body, Noida Extension Flat Owners and Members Association (NEFOMA), have launched a ‘No Home, No Vote’ drive to express their angst with their elected representatives and state as well as central governments, over delays in getting possession of flats. Noida and Greater Noida are part of the Gautam Buddh Nagar parliamentary constituency, which has over 22.5 lakh votes. Notably, over 5 lakh new voters have been enrolled since 2014 and a major chunk of them are flat buyers, according to the district administration.

“The flat buyers in Greater Noida West have not got the flats, even after the assurance from the prime minister. Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath constituted three ministerial committees but those also did not help. Hence, our association has started the ‘No Home, No Vote’ drive from Rudra Projects in Greater Noida,” NEFOMA president Annu Khan said. “Buyers say there is no difference between the previous governments and the present government. No leader comes to the support of the flat buyers. Hence, the flat buyers have decided they will vote for NOTA,” Khan said in a statement.

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In 2014, a total 3,836 votes were polled for ‘None of the Above’ (NOTA) in Gautam Buddh Nagar constituency, less than one per cent of the total votes cast that year. NOTA was introduced to empower the citizens to indicate their disapproval for all contestants. Khan claimed the issues of the flat buyers have been persisting for around 10 years now and they have taken up their grievances with the governments of the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and now the BJP but to no help. “For years, the elected representatives have not come to resolve the flat buyers’ problems and are now campaigning in residential societies, just before the polls,” he alleged.

Flat buyer Ajay Tomar claimed that Rudra Projects had promised to deliver his flat in 2015 but he had not got it. “In between the government, the local authorities and the builders, it is the common man who gets cheated after spending their life-long earnings,” he said. Voting for the Lok Sabha polls in Noida and Greater Noida is due on April 11, 2019, during the first leg of the seven-phased elections.

Khan claimed that the 2010-founded NEFOMA has a network of 20,000 to 25,000 flat buyers and indirectly links around a lakh people in Noida, Greater Noida and adjoining Ghaziabad. He said the body has linked aggrieved flat buyers of major projects like Unitech, Amrapali, Jaypee and around 50 smaller ones across Delhi-NCR. “We are reaching out to our network via different Facebook and WhatsApp groups that we have for various building projects, for this campaign,” he said.

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Category: Lifestyle

Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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