The much-delayed Dharavi redevelopment project got a boost on Saturday with the state government giving the green light to Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) to revamp sector 5 of the slum.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan passed an order, which allowed Mhada to redevelop sector 5, the 153-acre area adjoining Sion and Bandra-Kurla Complex.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Sachin Ahir, state minister for housing agreed that a major decision has been taken. “We have cleared most of the hurdles but the final details will be unveiled by the chief minister next week,” said Ahir.
The idea was first suggested by state housing secretary Gautam Chatterjee in June last year.
The plan involves rehabilitating 9,300 families who will move to bigger houses and create an additional 5,000 affordable houses.
Chatterjee said this provided an excellent opportunity to create affordable houses for Mhada, which is left with hardly any land bank in its kitty. Chavan, who supported the idea, wants to show how a government agency can develop an area. Chavan, on Monday, cancelled the bids of private bidders for the other four sectors of Dharavi because he did not want the revamp to favour builders.
Even residents welcomed Saturday's order. “We want Mhada to give us the best amenities and not compromise with the quality of construction,” said AP Srinivasan Nadar, a resident of Sangram Nagar.
Amarjit Singh Manhas, president, Mhada (Mumbai Board) said the housing body is fully geared to undertake the job. “It is a huge challenge but we have the competency to complete it,” said Manhas.
He said Mhada has an excellent track record citing its success in providing 8,182 low-cost houses in the last three years and being selected by the central government to construct 10,000 houses in war torn Sri Lanka as examples.
The Dharavi project started in February 4, 2004 aimed at transforming India’s largest slum sprawling across 535 acres into a plush township.
The plan envisaged creation of five sectors and 19 bidders were shortlisted to undertake the work.
However, because of delays and unfavourable market conditions, the number of bidders came down to seven creating major crises in the process.
The eligibility issue also tends to plague the revamp because it was found in the preliminary survey that 63% of the residents were found to be ineligible for new houses.