At least 16,000 affordable homes may come up in central Mumbai, as the redevelopment of the Bombay Development Department (BDD) chawls began after decades of delay on Saturday.
One of India’s biggest urban renewal schemes, the revamp will cost Rs 16,000 crore and is spread across a staggering 92.86 acres across central Mumbai. The project was inaugurated at a ceremony by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.
“The BDD chawls were regarded a goldmine by the erstwhile government, hence they did not take any decision regarding its redevelopment,” Fadnavis said, blaming the 21-year delay on vested interests, while highlighting how his own government tweaked the rules to ensure the existing residents get the maximum benefits. “There are vested interests whose only aim was to hand over this land to private builders. However, I did not allow that to happen and changed rules, like according it a special project status so the maximum benefits are passed on to the residents,” Fadnavis said.
“We will use 68 % of the existing land to rehabilitate the existing residents, and the remaining 32 % will be sale apartments that will fund this project. The existing residents living in 160 square feet houses will now get 500 square feet ones,” the CM said.
The state government has appointed the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) as the nodal agency — a decision many resident associations had opposed.
In the first phase, chawls in Naigaon and Lower Parel will be revamped by firms such as Larsen & Toubro and Shapoorji Pallonji respectively. Work on both began on Saturday.
There was some opposition to the the project, but the police detained those protesting until the function was over.
The BDD chawls were constructed by the British between 1920 and 1925. Nearly a century later, these chawls are highly dilapidated, with leaks and falling slabs. The Public Works Department (PWD), which owns them have not been successful in maintaining them, as the residents pay just Rs100 as rent every month.
The state expects to generate at least 16,000 affordable houses through this revamp which would be sold through a computerised lottery system.
Experts called the revamp a step in the right direction. “Considering the scale, this is a very challenging project and hopefully will create a some sort of precedent for future redevelopment schemes.
This will also create a huge stock of affordable houses in the heart of the city,” said Shubhankar Mitra, head, strategic consultant (West), Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) India, a real estate consultancy firm.