The Maharashtra government has appointed a sub-committee to study the Dharavi Redevelopment Project (DRP) and suggest measures to expedite the process of turning India’s largest slum into a plush township.
The sub-committee was necessary as the Rs 15,000-crore project was caught in the tangle of various issues thus derailing the project. This decision was taken during a meeting of the committee of secretaries presided by Chief Secretary J P Dange.
Gautam Chaterjee, chief executive officer, Dharavi Redevelopment Authority (DRA), the nodal body to implement the project said that the sub-committee has been asked to submit its report in a fortnight. “It will study the scheme as well as the obstacles and suggest means to go ahead [with the project],” said Chaterjee.
The Dharavi project conceived in 2004 aims to divide the slum into five sectors and change the face of the area. The project has been facing obstacles right from its inception.
Various developers pulled out of the project due to the economic slowdown. Now, there are only seven out of 19 developers who had initially participated in the project.
Last year, the project faced the biggest hurdle when a preliminary survey conducted by the civic body found that a majority--63 per cent--of the residents were not eligible for rehabilitation.
Even the expert committee appointed by the DRP to suggest means for the smooth implementation of the scheme has flayed it describing it as ‘sophisticated land grab’. Municipal officials from the G-North ward, who are in charge of determining the eligibility of residents for homes under the redevelopment project, say it would take at least two years to complete the exercise with just 30 employees on its rolls.
Sachin Ahir, state minister for housing said that the government state was making a sincere bid to undertake the scheme.
“We have decided to appoint a special deputy municipal commissioner with dedicated staff just to undertake the eligibility survey,” said Ahir.