For the past year, 358 apartments under the Dharavi revamp project have been ready for occupation, but the slum-dwellers are yet to be shifted to their new homes.
The reason: the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) is deciding which of them are eligible. To add to the mess is the state government’s inconsistent stance on the project.
“For the past 11 years, they [government] have dragged the project. Then they constructed a building with 358 houses, without any thought at all. They are still deciding who will be eligible for these houses,” said Raju Kode, president, Dharavi Nagrik Manch.
The Dharavi redevelopment scheme was mooted in 2004, and in the following years, a global tender was floated to select builders for the six sectors.
In 2011, the state decided to hand over the revamp of Sector 5 – with the least population – to Mhada and cancelled the global tenders. Sector 5 extends from Sion station to Sant Rohidas Marg, Rajiv Gandhi Nagar, areas along the Mahim creek and Mahim Nature Park, Prem Nagar and LBS road along the central railway tracks.
Of the 62 hectares, only 23 can be developed as most of the land comes under the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) and Mahim Nature Park, where redevelopment activity is restricted.
Minister of state for housing, Ravindra Waikar, said the project will gather steam soon. “We will solve the tangle and redevelopment activity will start.”
But for now, the ambitious project is in a shambles. Baburao Mane, president, Dharavi Bachao Andolan, said, “We objected to the 300-sqft houses. We will not shift there. We want houses that are at least 400 sqft.”