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World Bank to help in Dharavi?

The World Bank might fund the much-delayed Dharavi redevelopment project.

mumbai Updated: May 17, 2011 01:08 IST
Dharmendra Jore

The World Bank might fund the much-delayed Dharavi redevelopment project.

The bank’s managing director Ngozi Okonjo Iweala indicated this after meeting Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Monday. She discussed various city-related issues with Chavan and his team of bureaucrats.

The focus was on using the bank’s limited funding in the best way possible so that other players would be encouraged to finance bank-aided projects.

During a tour of the city, Iweala visited Dharavi. A senior bank official, who accompanied her, said on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media: “Iweala was very disturbed on seeing the living conditions at Dharavi”.

The slum’s redevelopment is stuck for various reasons. First, the global slowdown forced five bidders to walk away. Later, a preliminary survey found over 60% of the slum-dwellers ineligible for rehabilitation.

Now, the chief minister wants to complete the project with state participation even as some of his party colleagues insist on doing it through private players finalised in a bidding process a couple of years ago.

Chavan’s view is that the government should use the land to redevelop the slum and get revenue.

He is said to have expressed his desire to Iweala and explained his idea of creating wealth for the state through land governance.

“We will look at [funding Dharavi’s redevelopment],” Iweala said. “We have not taken a decision on this.”

Iweala praised Chavan for land reforms in Mumbai. She said he was trying to create more space for rehabilitating slum dwellers and urban infrastructure projects.

The World Bank boss, however, did not commit to Chavan’s request for financial aid for the third phase of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP 3). “We will continue our association with MUTP 2, and urban and rural water supply schemes,” she said.

Chavan said the current arrangement with the bank had benefitted the state. “We discussed [growing] urbanisation and creation of mass housing [in Mumbai], irrigation, water supply and MUTP,” he said.