As work on the ambitious Dharavi redevelopment project (DRP) seems to have finally taken off, albeit in a small way, the state is busy mulling the legal implications of cancelling the current global tenders.
The Dharavi Redevelopment Authority (DRA) has been consulting prominent legal firm Kanga and Company on this.
The problem is that DRP had floated global tenders and had short-listed 19 bidders of which now only seven remain.
Of these seven, Pacifica has pulled out of the fray though its partner Neptune claims to still be in the race. “We do not want to get into legal hassles and are hence studying the issue in detail,” said a senior DRP official who did not wish to be named.
Meanwhile, after a gap of six months, Mashal, the non-government organisation (NGO) has resumed distribution of identity cards to eligible slum dwellers. “We feel the state is serious about the Dharavi project,” said Dinesh Prabhu, coordinator, Mashal. In the next two months, Mashal plans to distribute 22,000 identity cards to slum dwellers in all five sectors.
The state hopes the exercise will speed up the revamp process of Dharavi’s Sector 5, where the Dharavi redevelopment project is slated to begin from.
The state has also planned to give the redevelopment rights to the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada). Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has been keen that Mhada redevelop this property in order to keep the builder lobby out.
To ensure speedy implementation of the project, Mhada is also slated to float a Special Purpose Vehicle, which is a company that will handle all projects related to Dharavi.
However, local politicians led by MP Eknath Gaikwad and his legislator daughter Varsha, have opposed Mhada’s entry into Dharavi.
In the last month, they have held meetings on the issue in which even Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi rallied against Mhada.
The idea for the Rs 15,000-crore Dharavi redevelopment scheme was floated in 2004 to convert India’s largest slum into a plush township.
But, it has been marred by controversy right from the beginning.