BMC plans to revamp British-era chawls | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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BMC plans to revamp British-era chawls

The crumbling British Improvement Trust (BIT) chawls that stand on prime land in south central Mumbai and are all set to be redeveloped.

mumbai Updated: Jul 07, 2010 00:44 IST
Naresh Kamath

The crumbling British Improvement Trust (BIT) chawls that stand on prime land in south central Mumbai and are all set to be redeveloped. Minister of State for House Sachin Ahir told Hindustan Times that Municipal Commissioner Swadheen Kshatriya has been told to submit a plan on how the 133 chawls will be redeveloped by inviting bids from private developers.

These chawls are in areas such as Mumbai Central, Agripada, Sion, Parel and Mazgaon, which are close to the mill belt that has seen massive real estate development in the past few years. This project will not only ensure better homes for existing residents of the chawl but also provide housing stock in the island city. The chawls will be developed in clusters, like a mini township.

Once the plan is approved, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will call for bids from private developers. “The current scheme of majority residents choosing the builder is taking time and is a major cause for infighting ,” said Ahir.

“Bidding will ensure transparency and the residents will get the best deal.”

The government feels it is better if the BMC that owns the chawls decides on the developers. Ahir said the cluster redevelopment scheme can be implemented in these chawls to ensure planned development. Ahir said if the scheme takes off successfully, it could be replicated for developing the 207 British Development Directorate chawls in the same area that are under the state government’s control.

The location of these chawls has led to intense competition among builders for development rights. Since the rules entail taking the consent of 70 per cent of the residents, builders resorted to manipulation and pressure tactics.
The Mumbai Central BIT, which has 19 chawls housing 1,524 tenants, were forced to even put up boards denying entry to builders. One of the builders was even arrested for forging resident’s consent.
Right to Information activist Santosh Doundkar, who was responsible for fighting the builder lobby in the Mumbai Central BIT chawl, welcomed the move. “These builders made the lives of the residents hell ,” he said adding the BMC should include the residents’ views while framing the bid conditions.