Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday directed the administration to search for an alternate site for the permanent rehabilitation of families in the tribal hamlets (padas) and eligible encroachers of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP).
Thackeray also instructed that a high-level committee should be set up under the chairmanship of Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray to find an alternate site.
Thackeray held a review meeting on Thursday on the issue of rehabilitation of the tribals and eligible encroachers. The meeting was attended by senior ministers and officials of the government.
The CM said that while the remaining families are yet to be rehabilitated, the allotted 90 acres of land at Aarey is not suitable for it. After finding an alternative site, a concrete rehabilitation programme should be implemented in a timely manner.
Earlier, the government had tasked the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) to construct flats for rehabilitation of the tribals and eligible encroachers, and a total of 11359 encroachers have been rehabilitated. The SGNP has 43 hamlets housing 1,795 tribals and 13,000 encroachers.
“The forest is our glory and we have to solve people’s problems while increasing it. The forest department must ensure that the rehabilitated families do not return to live in the SGNP again,” said the CM.
The high-level committee, which will be headed by the environment minister, will include senior officials from departments such as forest, tribal, urban development, housing and dairy development.