Mumbai’s iconic Dhobi Ghat all set for a facelift

Over 1,500 shanties have already been demolished at century-old heritage and tourist site; 850 more will be cleared on Friday.

mumbai Updated: Nov 24, 2016 12:23 IST
Naresh Kamath
Naresh Kamath
Hindustan Times
Dhobhi Ghat,Redevelopment,Mumbai slums
Dhobi Ghat was created by the British administration more than a century ago, as a washing area with a large open space around it meant for cleaning and drying. This open space was systematically taken over by slumlords over the years.

Dhobi Ghat, one of the largest open laundries in the world and a Mumbai tourist attraction, is all set for a sea change via redevelopment.

Of the 5,000 slums that form part of this area, about 1,500 have already been demolished and another 850 will be cleared on Friday.

The redevelopment plan includes rehabilitating slumdwellers and refurbishing the open laundry, which is more than a century old and is a city heritage structure.

The redevelopment of Dhobi Ghat was first proposed about a decade ago. (HT Photo)

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The British administration had created the ghat, a washing area, with 731 washing pans and flogging stones. The area around it was an open area meant for cleaning and drying, which was then systematically taken over by slumlords.

Dhobi Ghat is located on prime real estate in the heart of Mumbai, overlooking the Mahalaxmi Race Course and the Arabian sea.

According to Omkar Realtors and Developers, which has undertaken the redevelopment project, the revamp will enhance the value of Dhobi Ghat. “The slums around it will be cleared and this will really boost the heritage site,” said a spokesperson for the company.

Omkar says it has obtained the consent of about 3,500 slumdwellers so far.

Kiran Rao shoots for her film Dhobi Ghat, on location in Mahalaxmi. The iconic area in the heart of Mumbai has featured in numerous Bollywood films. (Anshuman Poyrekar / HT Photo)

The redevelopment was first proposed about a decade ago, with Lokhandwala Infrastructure originally appointed to undertake the work. Many of the slumdwellers went to the court against the developer. In one slum pocket, the court ordered a ballot test to decide the fate of the project.

Read: Over 16,000 cessed buildings in urgent need of redevelopment, says state

First Published: Nov 24, 2016 10:54 IST