The Maharashtra government plans to redevelop the century-old Bombay Development Directorate (BDD) chawls on the lines of the Dharavi revamp scheme, by introducing separate Development Control Regulations (DCR) for the project, just like it did for Asia’s largest slum.
The metamorphosis of BDD chawls into a planned high-rise cluster, which has been on the government’s agenda for over a decade, would be Mumbai’s second-largest redevelopment project after the equally-delayed Dharavi redevelopment scheme.
However, the state has proposed to redevelop the decrepit BDD chawls through the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA), unlike Dharavi’s revamp, which would largely be taken up on a public private partnership basis.
Ravindra Waikar, minister of state for housing, said, “Exactly like for Dharavi, we have proposed separate DCR for BDD chawls. Like in the case of Dharavi, we will also try to apply a Floor Space Index (FSI) of 4 for the redevelopment. The size of houses and other aspects of the regulations are still under discussion. We will have one more meeting to iron out these issues.”
FSI refers to the ratio of the built-up area to the plot area. The state government has sanctioned an FSI of 4 for the revamp of Dharavi, which proposes to transform slum sprawls spread over 152 hectare into a well-planned residential and commercial locality with amenities.
Further, the government has also approved a tenement size of 350 square feet, including the niches and flower beds, even as families part of other slum redevelopment schemes elsewhere get a maximum of 269 square feet free.
An official from the housing department said the separate DCR would be introduced as a sub-clause of an existing regulation, just like in the case of Dharavi, and will not be an entirely new book altogether.
“BDD chawls will be a huge redevelopment project spread over four areas. It is complicated in nature because there are slums as well as chawls residents who need to be rehabilitated, so the scheme will have to cater to encroachers as well as home owners. Having separate DCR will make it easier to implement the project of such a scale. We will also be able to offer a tenement size that is different from what is applicable under other existing DCR,” the official said.
Officials from housing and the urban development departments discussed the project with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday. MHADA has shortlisted three architects for the project and officials gave a presentation of the proposed designs to Fadnavis.
The chief minister said, “We have almost reached a decision on the redevelopment of BDD chawls. The cabinet note will be prepared this month. All hurdles have been cleared and the cabinet will soon take a final decision.”
The British had developed the BDD chawls in the 1920s as a low-cost housing solution for the city. There are 207 chawls spread across 93 acres, or 37.6 hectare, in Worli, Naigaon, NM Joshi Marg and Sewri.
The houses in the three-story buildings, home to nearly 16,500 families, are 160-square-feet cramped tenements with insufficient ventilation, common bathrooms and toilets. Over the years, encroachments have mushroomed on the land with there now being several families living in 478 hutments over the four locations of BDD chawls.