The dingy streets and crumbling structures that dot south Mumbai might soon be a thing of past. After Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan green-lighted the Rs2000 crore Bhendi Bazaar revamp project on Friday, similar schemes at Chira Bazar, Thakurdwar and Bhuleshwar are raising hopes of a swankier south Mumbai.
A cluster redevelopment scheme involves revamp of structures over a minimum area of one acre. The Bhendi Bazaar project will see 16.5 acres refurbished in five years. "It will virtually be a new township, with the best of facilities and infrastructure," said Abdeali Bhanpurawala, Secretary, Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust. Over 250 old buildings will make way for skyscrapers equipped with modern amenities. "These will be green buildings with solar panels, rain-water harvesting, sewage treatment plants," he added.
The scheme will see 3,200 tenants move to bigger homes more than 350 sq ft in area, while 1,250 commercial tenants will be accomodated. "It will change the face of south Mumbai," said urban development secretary T C Benjamin.
Double this size is the 30-acre Chira Bazaar redevelopment project which covers the wholesale textile and paper markets. It has 372 buildings housing 8,800 tenements. "Infrastructure in the region has crumbled and a cluster scheme is the only way to carry out holistic development," said Mayank Gandhi, Secretary, Remaking of Mumbai Federation.
Developers are unhappy with the slow pace of approvals from the state government. The scheme requires the consent of at least 70 % of the tenants and consent of every single landlord. "Obtaining consent is a tedious task," said BR Bhattad. executive president, property owners association.
The high-powered committee under the municipal commissioner cleared 23 schemes, of which only four have been cleared by the Urban Development Department under the chief minister. Work has started in only one project, while the others are stuck with civic authorities.