Dharavi’s makeover will be a reality, after all.
The Dharavi Redevelopment Authority (DRA) has said it will proceed with the makeover of Asia’s biggest slum. This, despite objections raised by the expert committee on the plan. The redevelopment body will select developers on July 20.
The 10-member expert committee had on Wednesday expressed reservations about the Rs 15,000-crore project, terming it as a ‘sophisticated land grab’.
The committee said the project was driven more by personal greed than the residents’ welfare. The committee had almost called for an alternate plan to redevelop the slum.
The DRA has asserted that the current plan was on.
Gautam Chatterjee, DRA’s chief executive officer, called the expert committee an advisory body, but added that he had incorporated many of their suggestions.
“They have given valuable inputs which we have evolved in our final masterplan but such open letters saying the project should be scrapped are unjustified,” said Chatterjee.
He said the DRA had acted on various concerns expressed by the committee over issues like environmental impact, loss of livelihood and open space between the buildings and taken corrective action.
“We are building an integrated township and we have taken precautions to ensure that livelihood is not affected,” said Chatterjee.
The state appointed the expert committee to advise on issues like planning and implementation of the project.
Chatterjee said financial bids being submitted by the 14 bidders would be opened on July 20 and five would be selected to redevelop the 535 acres of land.
The winning bidders will provide 300-sq-ft houses to all slumdwellers. In turn, they will be allowed to construct additional houses, which they can sell in the open market.
The expert committee has defended its observations. “We gave our view only after scrutinising plans. We are not here to accept everything placed in front of us,” said former chief secretary D.M. Sukhthankar, a committee member.
He agreed that the redevelopment authority was within its rights to go ahead with the project despite objections.