Around 12 years after the Dharavi redevelopment project was announced, the first lot of 278 slum dwellers will be allotted new houses on January 26.
They will be given houses in a newly constructed building in sector 5, which is close to the commercial hub of Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC). This sector is being revamped by the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada).
According to senior Mhada officials, 278 slum dwellers have been found eligible in the exhaustive exercise being undertaken by the housing board. “We will undertake a computerised lottery to allot the houses in the new building,” said the official, on condition of anonymity.
Mhada is said to have booked a hall in Bandra and efforts are being made to
rope in chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to grace the occasion.
These slum dwellers are from Shatabdi Nagar and once they are shifted, Mhada plans to build two new buildings on the vacant plot of land.
The new building has 358 houses that are 300 sqft. They have been ready for the past two years, but Mhada delayed allotting them to determine the eligibility of the slum dwellers.
Sector 5 has 9,300 slum dwellers and its area spans from Sion station to Rajiv Gandhi Nagar, which is adjacent to BKC and then the areas along Mahim creek and Mahim Nature Park and finally LBS Road, along the central railway tracks.
Of the total 62 hectares, just 23 can be developed as a major part comes under the coastal regulation zone (CRZ) and Mahim Nature Park, where redevelopment activity is restricted.
Resident associations, however, are still not convinced of the progress of the project saying that the real challenge is still ahead.
“After 12 years, just 278 are being rehoused. At this pace, it will take several decades to complete the project,” said Raju Kode, Dharavi Nagrik Manch.