The interiors of Aarey Milk Colony offer paddy fields in abundance, apart from other vegetables.
Mumbai: Tribals in Aarey Colony and housing minister Ravindra Waikar discussed the matter of rehabilitation on Saturday in Keltipada. While the minister visited Keltipada expecting to convince the tribals to move into Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) buildings, tribals of other padas also turned up for the meeting, asserting that they do not want to be leave Aarey. This is the first time that tribals from several padas gathered together to highlight the fact that their land is being sacrificed for various projects.
Around 300 adivasis from several padas gathered at the meeting on Saturday. The Mumbai suburban collector, chief executive of Aarey Colony and BMC officials were also present for the meeting.
Mr Waikar had earlier said that the rehabilitation project would come at a five-acre plot for three padas: Chasyacha pada, Kelti pada and Damu pada. “We have farm land too which is a major source of livelihood for us. How can they expect tribals who have spent their entire lives in the forest here to move into a small room and leave behind farming. Why is the government taking away our right to forest land as tribals,” said Prakash Bhoir, a tribal from Aarey Milk Colony.
While a few tribals have left the farming profession and are working in the city, almost every tribal family cultivates farmland during the monsoon. The interiors of Aarey Milk Colony offer paddy fields in abundance, apart from other vegetables. “Our ancestors have been born here, we have born here. We do not want to leave our land. It is good that the state government is thinking about providing us amenities, but they should provide it here,” said another tribal from Keltipada.