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Bombay HC paves the way for redevelopment of Dhobi Ghat

A division bench of justices BR Gavai and MS Karnik recently rejected petitions filed by Dhobi Jan Vikas Sanstha and a few washermen, who have licences to wash and dry clothes .

mumbai Updated: Oct 27, 2018 00:38 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Bombay high court,Dhobi Ghat
A division bench of justices BR Gavai and MS Karnik recently rejected petitions filed by Dhobi Jan Vikas Sanstha and a few washermen, who have licences to wash and dry clothes . (FILE)

The Bombay high court has paved the way for the redevelopment of Dhobi Ghat, one of the largest open laundries in the world and a Mumbai tourist attraction at Mahalaxmi, by dismissing three petitions challenging the Slum Rehabilitation Authority’s (SRA) project. It also sought the exclusion of the ghat’s drying area from the slum redevelopment scheme.

A division bench of justices BR Gavai and MS Karnik recently rejected petitions filed by Dhobi Jan Vikas Sanstha and a few washermen, who have licences to wash and dry clothes .

The Sanstha challenged a November 29, 2016 order of the high-powered committee (HPC), which gave its nod to the redevelopment project. The ₹7,000-crore project includes rehabilitating slum dwellers and refurbishing the open laundry.

It also sought revocation of the letter of intent issued to Omkar Realtors and Projects Private Limited for the redevelopment of the entire Dhobi Ghat area.

According to the bench, litigation after litigation was filed and a number of organisations participated in the proceedings and therefore this belated petition at the instance of an organisation, formed only in January 2018 – much after the HPC order, was not tenable. It said a majority of licencees agreed to the redevelopment and that the plan was nothing “but a belated attempt to stall redevelopment”.

Contending that of the 28,156 square metres reserved for Dhobi Ghat, 20,431 square metres has been encroached upon by slums, the petitioner said the authorities were not justified in including 7,724 square metres, earmarked as drying area, in the project. It also said if the drying area was included, their members will lose their only source of livelihood .

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said the petitioner had no right or title in the drying area and they were only licence holders and the BMC was the land’s owner. The developer opposed the petition, contending that 1,502 slum dwellers of the 1,530 have shifted to temporary alternate accommodations.

First Published: Oct 27, 2018 00:37 IST