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What rehab scheme proposed for textile workers? HC asks govt

bombay high court

Mumbai : The Bombay High Court today asked the Maharashtra government to give details of the rehabilitation scheme it proposes to introduce for workers of defunct textile mills whose land in prime areas is being allowed for sale and redevelopment.

“What is the stand of the state? We want to know if there is any rehabilitation scheme (for former textile workers),” said a bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka.

The HC was hearing a petition filed by Girni Kamgar Sanghatana, the textile workers union which was once headed by veteran trade union leader late Datta Samant.

Most of the textile mills in Mumbai and elsewhere in the state have closed down for various reasons more than two decades ago. The vast tracts of mill lands are now valued at a high price because of their prime location. The unions have been demanding rehabilitation of workers saying they had lost their livelihood.

The bench directed the state government and its implementing agency Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) to file separate affidavits on February 29 giving details of rehabilitation scheme for workers.

While the government has been asked to place on record the proposed rehabilitation scheme of textile workers, if any, MHADA has been directed to furnish information such as how many tenements have been constructed so far and how many textile workers have been allotted houses. Also, what criteria has been followed in the allotments? the high court asked.

In Mumbai alone, about 600 acres of mill land is available for redevelopment which may fetch hundreds of crores to the owners of textile mills, says the petition and demands that workers should be suitably compensated by giving them a small portion of the land to rehabilitate them.

Government pleader J W Mattos sought time to give information on rehabilitation scheme of textile workers. The court posted the matter for next hearing on March 8.

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