While the Maharashtra Housing and Development Authority (Mhada) is busy making preparations to revamp the Bombay Development Directorate (BDD) chawls, many resident organisations want to redevelop the land themselves.
They warned they would agitate on the streets and are willing to take the legal route if the state government persists with Mhada for this scheme.
“There is a cabinet sanction obtained by us in 1999 and then again in 2004 conferring us the rights to undertake the self–redevelopment of these chawls,” said Ajay Nakashe, president, Akhil BDD chawls Bhadekaru Mahasangh. This organisation claims more than 87% of the residents have given their consent to undertake the scheme.
“We have worked for this revamp scheme from the past two decades and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) is ready to fund this project,” he said. “Residents will get 410 sqft houses with all the modern amenities,” Nakashe said.
Another organisation, the Akhil BDD Rahivashi Mahasangh, has demanded an apex authority on the lines of the Dharavi Redevelopment Authority (DRA) for the BDD chawls.
“We don’t mind any authority constituted by the state government, but Mhada is not acceptable,” said Raju Waghmare, president of the Mahasangh.
“We have already shortlisted the best consortiums to undertake the revamp. They will offer us the best houses with all the modern amenities,” he said.
The Mahasangh’s proposal states the entire scheme will be funded by financial institutions and the state government would also get its share of affordable houses.
“Mhada should first redevelop the dilapidated structures in their own land instead of focusing on the BDD chawls.” said Waghmare.
The BDD chawls are a virtual goldmine for the real estate sector because all the 207 structures are in prime locations in the island city with good connectivity — a builder’s dream.
Minister of state for housing Ravindra Waikar, however, ruled out handing over the project to resident associations. “They will adopt the same procedure like appointing a contractor, which even Mhada will do. Since we are the landlords, we have the first right and hence have decided to undertake the project,” said Waikar.