Politicians put the brakes on Dharavi’s grand makeover plan | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Politicians put the brakes on Dharavi’s grand makeover plan

The Dharavi makeover plan continues to be embroiled in politics. HT reports.

mumbai Updated: Mar 02, 2011 01:31 IST
HT Correspondent

The Dharavi makeover plan continues to be embroiled in politics. On Tuesday, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, despite wanting to, could not take a final decision on handing over the job to the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) because of opposition from within the Congress.

Chavan spoke to local Congress MP Eknath Gaikwad and his state minister Varsha Gaikwad for their views, as both do not want Mhada as a developing agency.

Sources said Chavan was impressed with Mhada officials who had said, on Tuesday, that the authority could begin work on Sector 5 imediately. Chavan said at the meeting that he would talk to his party men before taking a final decision.

But, the Gaikwads said they wanted the eligibility issue to be decided first.

“I have told the government to preserve structures built before 2000. I have left the matter to the CM,” Eknath Gaikwad said. He had told HT earlier that the government would further delay the project by involving Mhada.

The five private players backed out in March 2009 following an economic slowdown, following which Mhada stepped in with a new proposal in June last year.

City Congress spokesperson Ajit Sawant opposed Gaikwad. “We welcome the CM’s move of asking the agency to take over because the earlier proposal smacked of large-scale corruption.”

The clash of opinion indicated that the two warring groups led by two union ministers from the city, are using the Dharavi redevelopment to settle scores.

The Dharavi project was conceived seven years ago to turn India’s largest slum into a plush township. Mhada’s proposal also faces obstacles because of the issue of eligibility norms for beneficiaries.

In Sector 5 alone, more than 2,900 of 9,300 houses in the sector have changed hands in the last 11years, rendering a significant number ineligible for free houses under the project because they moved to Dharavi after January 1, 2000.