After flip-flops by successive governments on the much-delayed Dharavi Redevelopment Project, the Maharashtra government has decided to go ahead with the public private partnership (PPP) model for the ambitious project and plans to invite tenders in two weeks.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday approved the draft tender documents for the Rs 25,000-crore project. The Dharavi Redevelopment Authority will now invite tenders for the redevelopment of four of the five sectors of the slum sprawl located on prime central Mumbai land. The government aims to complete the project in seven years.
Nirmalkumar Deshmukh, chief executive officer of the Dharavi Redevelopment Authority, said, “Contracts would be given based on competitive bidding. We will invite tenders for all four sectors simultaneously. Developers will be eligible to bid for multiple sectors, but they won’t be able to take up redevelopment work for more than one sector.”
The state government has divided the 240-hectare slum into five sectors for redevelopment.
To show some movement in the decade-old project, ahead of the 2014 Assembly elections, the previous Congress-NCP government allotted Sector Number 5 which has a large amount of vacant land, to the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) for redeveloping. The government agency will now continue to work on Sector 5, while the Dharavi Redevelopment Authority will bring in private developers for the remaining four sectors.
The redevelopment project has been in the works since 2004 and has been a poll issue for all parties in every election conducted since then. Just prior to elections, the erstwhile Congress-NCP government had finished drafting a development plan for Dharavi and the bid documents. The BJP-led government then reviewed the entire plan, including the cost and the method of implementation, even considering development of all sectors through a government agency instead of through a public private partnership. Meanwhile, the project management consultant severed ties with the government, which then had to get another consultancy firm on board.
“The Dharavi revamp project will lead to the creation of 1.08 lakh houses across all four sectors. Of these, the four developers for the four sectors put together will get about 40,000 houses as their sale component,” Deshmukh said.
Of the remaining 68,000 houses, the government will require about 55,000 houses or less to house the eligible slum dwellers of Dharavi as per the state government’s policy. The state government will add the rest to its housing stock to be sold as affordable housing in the market, Deshmukh added.
Every slum dweller eligible for a free house as part of the project will get houses of 350 square feet. The government had earlier decided to rehabilitate eligible slumdwellers in 300 square feet homes. However, the project faced stiff resistance with members of almost all parties, primarily the Shiv Sena, uniting to demand larger homes of at least 400 square feet, prompting the government to recalculate the size of the houses including the fungible Floor Space Index (FSI) that the project will get.
The civic body grants fungible FSI at a premium to monetize areas such as balconies, terraces, flowerbeds, voids, and niches that were earlier considered to be free of FSI.
Shiv Sena’s Baburao Mane, a former legislator from Dharavi and chairman of the Dharavi Bachao Andalon that had spearheaded the protests for more spacious houses, said, “We are welcoming the move. We don’t really have an option. We have been fighting for houses of 400 square feet for 10 years now. We have to compromise or else there will be no development.”