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Dharavi redevelopment: Few societies respond,most want out

The draft plan for redevelopment of Dharavi has drawn tepid response from people,with the project authorities having received only 20 suggestions and objections so far.

Written by MANASI PHADKE | Published: April 4, 2013 2:28 am

The draft plan for redevelopment of Dharavi has drawn tepid response from people,with the project authorities having received only 20 suggestions and objections so far. Much to the chagrin of the Dharavi Redevelopment Authority officials,most of the responses are actually requests by housing societies to exclude them from the project.

“These are not valid objections. When people are being given the chance to be heard,they should demand rehabilitation in a proper manner rather than seek to do it on their own. Under this plan,they will get a properly developed township with all amenities in place,whereas if they choose individual redevelopment of buildings,it will just lead to vertical slums,” said Sameer Biswas,chief executive of Dharavi Redevelopment Authority.

The authority had made the draft development plan public on March 8,giving people time till April 8 to submit suggestions and objections. From April 15,the authority will start detailed scrutiny of suggestions and objections and every response will be given a hearing.

“Exclusion of any housing society from the redevelopment plan is highly unlikely. In fact,we had sent a proposal to the state government to exclude Laxmi Baug housing society in Sector 2 of Dharavi because it is extremely dilapidated and in urgent need of reconstruction,but it was turned down,” an official said.

The Dharavi Bachao Andolan,an umbrella organisation of political parties and other groups opposing the project,has called for a Dharavi bandh on April 9 to oppose the state government’s plan.

“In the draft plan,all the prime land along major roads in Dharavi has been marked as the sale component of the project,while shops and homes have been relegated to a corner as part of the rehabilitation component. How is this fair?” said Ramakant Gupta,president of the Dharavi Bachao Andolan. “We are not against development,but the state government has done nothing since 2004 and we don’t have confidence in the plan,” he added.

The plan to revamp Dharavi was mooted nearly a decade ago but has been a non-starter. The state government is now planning to commence the project early next year. It has invited bids from consultants to have the tender documents ready by October or November this year.

Slum sprawl

Dharavi comprises five sectors spread across 240 hectares. The Dharavi redevelopment project will involve only 152 hectares excluding railway land,a huge Tata Power receiving station and the recently executed development projects.

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