Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Monday asked the administration to prepare a time-bound programme for redeveloping Dharavi slums. He said he had not decided on the sectors other than sector-5 that the state agencies would take up for makeover.
Chavan confirmed to the media at his office that the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) would soon start developing sector-5 of the slums because the area was relatively free of encroachments and tenants there ready to move out to transit camps.
A source in the Congress that the CM represents said that the party wanted him to start something concrete in Dharavi before the next year’s civic elections. “People in Dharavi are already agitated because of the incessant delay. We cannot afford any further resentment,” said a senior Congress legislator requesting anonymity.
But the CM was not sure about the deadline. “I can’t say when but I can tell you that Mhada will do it (redevelopment) as early as possible. Tenders for inviting construction contractors will be floated very soon,” he said.
The CM insisted on testing the Mhada model for its success before using it for the remaining four sectors. “We will use the Mhada model if it is successful in sector-5.”
Other than the Dharavi makeover, Chavan reviewed other urban development and housing issues in the city. He has asked the state machinery to make an inventory of all no-development land in the city. This land is owned by several state and central agencies and CM needs to have a proper inventory so that he can get some of it cleared for development from the Centre.
Chavan is likely to take up the city’s housing issue in New Delhi where he will participate in a meeting on September 27. “I will discuss coastal regulatory zone issues, possibility of developing salt pans and having a regulator for the real estate industry.”
The CM said that the saltpan land could also be used for development. “But then the state needs to have 51% or more stakes in the company or agency that will take up such a project. It’s a issue that needs to be debated in more detail,” he said.