Consultant for the Dharavi Redevelopment Project, Mukesh Mehta, has been served with a legal termination notice. The Dharavi Redevelopment Authority (DRA) has also decided to legally challenge the decision of the arbitration tribunal to award Rs2.85 crore to Mehta as pending dues.
A senior officer associated with the project said the decision had been taken as the whole model had now been changed. “We feel he has not been effective and we have not used his services for the last two years,” said the officer who did not wish to comment. “The contract specifies that Mehta should be paid after the tenders are opened, which has not been done till date. How can we pay him before that?” he said.
Mehta was the first to moot the idea of Dharavi redevelopment in February 4, 2004 and was later appointed as consultant in the project.
The plan was to convert India's largest slum into a plush township. However, over the years, the plan ran into a lot of problems with the majority of developers pulling out citing both delays as well as lack of transparency in the project.
Mehta who was the consultant in the project has been paid Rs13.60 crore till date and continues to demand more, which the arbitration panel accepted.
Terming the issue a personal vendetta by a senior IAS officer, Mehta said, “The termination has nothing to do with my competence and is gross breach of contract. The project continues to be according to my model,” Mehta said. He said he would challenge it at an appropriate forum. He also assailed the decision of the DRA to challenge the arbitrator's decision.
“I was compelled to go to the arbitration panel and even there I won. I am asking for my rightful share,” he said.