The long-delayed revamp of the British-era Bombay Development Department (BDD) chawls in central Mumbai has moved a step further.
As many as 13 architectural firms have been shortlisted to prepare a plan to redevelop the 92.86 acres of prime land occupied by these chawls, whose residents have been living in leaky, dangerous houses for years.
The revamp plan for these buildings has been stuck for over a decade.
Reputable architects such as Hafeez Contractor and PK Das, who were selected for the final round, said if planned systematically, the project can create a huge chunk of affordable houses and make available larger open spaces.
The proposal inviting architects was floated by the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) in August. A total of 25 architects responded, of which 13 have been selected for the final round.
According to Contractor, BDD chawl revamp has the potential to become one of the most fruitful projects in the city.
“The existing residents will get the best houses with all modern amenities such as clubs and recreation grounds. We can easily create at least five times more open spaces than the existing ones,” Contractor said.
Das said the projects can generate a handsome stock of affordable houses. “Since it is a Mhada project, we can create large number of affordable houses,” he said.
The BDD chawls are spread across 92.86 acres of prime land in locations such as Naiguam, Worli, Lower Parel and Sewri. The 207 chawls built in 1920-25 by the then British government are currently in extremely dilapidated condition.
The state has been keen on Mhada undertaking the revamp, and the body has prepared an initial plan that proposes a 450-square feet apartment with all modern amenities for each tenant.
It states the entire revamp will be carried out in phases and completed within a period of seven years.
The project envisages the creation of 26,000 additional houses that can then be sold at affordable rates to homebuyers.
However, BDD tenant associations are opposed to Mhada carrying out the revamp.
“We do not think Mhada has the capacity to carry out the revamp and we will oppose them strongly,” said Raju Waghmare, president, Akhil BDD Rahivashi Mahasangh.
The BDD chawls were built in the period of 1920-25, at the cost of Rs3.49 crore by the Bitish government
The average cost per room in these 207 buildings came to Rs2,115 at the time
While these residents pay a meagre rent of less than Rs100 per month, the buildings are now dilapidated, with cramped rooms and leaky roofs
They are spread across 92.86 acres of prime land in locations such as Naiguam, Worli, Lower Parel and Sewri