The Dharavi redevelopment project's pilot scheme has now entered a crucial phase. The Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) will start determining the eligibility of residents in Sector 5.
This means Mhada will have to decide how many residents living in the 9,300 structures in sector 5 will be eligible for new houses under the revamp project.
NGO Mashaal, which carried out a survey, had said last year that 31% of the residents - nearly 2,900- were not ineligible for houses.
"Only those residents who have been residing in the sector before January 1, 2000, are eligible for new houses. This will be a major problem as many sales in slums have taken place after the cut-off date," said a senior official involved in the redevelopment project.
Residents, however, are critical of the project, "Dharavi is not a slum per se. It is more like a bustling township and realty sales are natural phenomenon. The state has been delaying the project for years and no one can keep on waiting," said A P Srinivas Nadar, president, Dharavi Food Products Manufacturing Association.
Nadar said it was unfair to deny new houses to residents.
The eligibility issue came up in 2009 when Mashaal found that 63% of the residents in sector 3 were not eligible. Following this, there were demands to have cut-off date only for structures and not residents.
The Dharavi revamp plan, mooted in 2004, has been facing a host of problems over the years and even the global tenders to select the developers were scrapped last year.
The state then decided to hand over Sector 5 to Mhada, hoping to generate a handsome stock of affordable houses.