Imagine strolling down a strip of road in the skies and recalling how, a few years ago, Asia’s largest sprawl of squalor — the Dharavi slums — breathed below.
Such elevated walkways connecting offices to a swank railway station is just one of the wonders the future (we are now talking 2013 on official papers) is likely to unravel if the all goes well with the Rs 9,000-crore transformation of Mumbai’s iconic poverty district.
The blueprint of the two crore square feet commercial address, available exclusively with the HT, also talks about multi-layered driveways and buildings towering beyond 30 floors. The plan promises to allot almost equal space to house the slum dwellers.
The final redevelopment map shows precisely how the 551-acre land in the middle of central and suburban Mumbai will look like. If the plan is any indication, Dharavi might be Mumbai’s first step towards Shanghai.
The buildings will have on an average 15-18 storeys and will match the best in the world. The area will also have 70 acres of public garden and green, open space. The map also includes plots for schools and colleges, training institutes for local potters and leather workers and citizens’ cooperatives.
Mukesh Mehta, chief architect of the project, said many independent agencies want to get involved with the redevelopment. “The National Institute of Design and Central Leather Research Institute wants to train the potters and the leather-smiths in Dharavi,” said Mehta. “Banks are offering loans to leather-smiths and potters for forming cooperatives. Potters will be the biggest beneficiaries of the project.”
The bids are supposed to open this week. “It was delayed as Kushman Wakefield, which was checking the bid documents, made some mistakes. We needed to rectify those errors,” said a senior official.