In a desperate attempt to consolidate its vote bank among slum dwellers, the state’s Congress-NCP government approved a proposal to regularise all slums that came up before 2000. The previous cut-off date for regularising slums was 1995. That this proposal —which is expected to benefit about 350,000 slum dwellers in Mumbai alone by offering them redevelopment facilities—was brought in just two days before the Election Code of Conduct was imposed shows this was a stunt, pulled only to gather votes. While both the NCP and Congress had made similar promises before the 2004 and 2009 polls, this is the first time the government has brought in a bill. It lays out no concrete plans on how these slum units will be accommodated within the current civic set up. Meanwhile, the government has failed to improve the infrastructure and shoddy civic amenities in cities like Mumbai. Instead of mindlessly regularising slums, the government should first look at making such improvements.
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