Textiles workers' rally in Mumbai
Textile workers and their families in Mumbai took out a massive rally in support of their right to housing and rehabilitation. Nearly 4000 workers participated in the rally. According to the decision of the Maharashtra government, only 17,000 mill workers and their families out of the total 1,71,000 mill workers and their families would be provided with houses. This means that the question of when and where they would be provided with housing remains a festering question that plagues the remaining 90 percent of workers and their families. Not a single building for their housing has been constructed during the rule of the BJP-Shiv Sena government. The government tried to fool the mill workers by introducing a lottery scheme. The workers and their families would have to wait for years under this scheme. In response to this, the mill workers and their families are demanding that the government should either give them a title that establishes their right to housing or allocate land for constructing a house. 25000 workers have come together to form the Housing Construction Cooperative and demanded of the Chief Minister that land be given to this Cooperative.
More than two lakh workers were rendered jobless with the closure of the textile mills by their owners who also usurped the land that they had been leased out to run the mills. The government got only a small fraction of the land for applying for public purpose. This should have been applied to construction of houses for the families of mill workers who had been rendered homeless.
Previously, the government had opened up thousands of acres of salt pan lands for housing. The housing issue of the mill workers would have been resolved if about three hundred acres of this land had been used to construct homes instead of gifting this land to the builders. Mill workers and their families have been building up the campaign for right to housing across several villages of Maharashtra to keep the pressure on the government.