Lakhs of encroachers are staying on Union and state government lands across the state.
Mumbai: In a first, the state cabinet has given the nod for paying compensation directly to the bank accounts of eligible encroachers on government land, whose structures may be required to be removed for public purpose projects and when an alternate plot or home is not available for rehabilitation or the encroacher is not willing to accept it.
Lakhs of encroachers are staying on Union and state government lands across the state. As per government policy, illegal occupants or encroachers are entitled to rehabilitation. It is very difficult to provide alternate accommodation to encroachers and metro- and other project-affected persons who are unwilling to move to Mahul or the MMR region. For infrastructure and other projects, land acquisition and removal of encroachers has become a headache for the government, which has protected illegal slums or structures built up to 2011.
The government had appointed a committee under the chairmanship of the revenue secretary, and it has taken this decision based on the committee’s report and with a view to speeding-up important projects. Compensation will be given as per the ready reckoner rate of land and the construction cost of the house under the Prime Minister’s housing scheme. Senior officers said that hurdles in the way of the metro, bullet train, Mumbai-Nagpur Samruddhi Mahamarg and other important projects would now be cleared.
However, officials also said that if the government starts disbursing cash compensation to illegal occupants or encroachers on government land, it will send out the wrong message and after availing the cash compensation, the encroachers will occupy government lands in some other place. Also, other project-affected people may raise a similar demand, officials said.