Agents richer in slum eviction

The upcoming Four Seasons hotel has managed to get a slum near their plot vacated for a pittance; middlemen pocketed bulk of the money

Located amidst slums and garages, the upcoming Four Seasons in Worli is not exactly ideal for a five star hotel. But the management has found a cheap way out.

They have had to pay only Rs 4 lakh or less to the slum dwellers on the land behind the hotel plot.

It’s a raw deal considering slum dwellers in Bandra Kurla Complex had received close to Rs 80 lakh to relocate.

MiD DAY investigations have revealed that the residents of Mota Bhavan, Worli, were meant to get Rs 7 lakh for vacating the land, but Rs 3 lakh out of that was pocketed by the middlemen who sealed the deal.

The 44 families had not wanted to vacate the slum for such a small amount, but they were forced to when the construction of the hotel started. Only two shops still stand on that land, but sources say they too will be forced to vacate.

Next slum

The hotel is now negotiating with the 115 families in the slum in front of the hotel. The residents insist they will not settle for anything less than Rs 4 lakh.

Confirming that they had been asked to relocate, Hazirabi Sheikh, who has lived in the slum for 25 years, said he has been offered Rs 1 lakh. He added, “The slum dwellers next to us were paid Rs 4 to 5 lakh. Why can’t they pay us the same?”

Sachin Ahir, Mumbai president, NCP, confirmed that the slums were being vacated. “The hotel has written to the BMC seeking permission to demolish the public toilet, which is near the hotel,” said Ahir, who is against the move. 

Luisa Lencastre, director, PRO, Four Seasons Hotel, denied that any such deal was taking place. “Four Seasons has no knowledge of the issue,” she said.

http://www.mid-day.com/news/mumbai/article?_EXT_5_articleId=817349&_EXT_5_groupId=14

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