RESIDENTS OF the city’s BDD chawls have objected to the proposed housing plan by the state government for its redevelopment. On Saturday, eight groups associated with the century-old 93-acre Bombay District Development chawls, including chawl residents, shopkeepers, stall owners and slum residents, pressed for their demands to be met by the state before finalising a redevelopment plan.
One of the apprehensions of the groups was that redevelopment under the new Section 33 (9) Part 2 in the Development Control Regulations would not require consent of residents to clear redevelopment projects.
Dr Raju Waghmare of Akhil BDD Chawl Rahiwashi Mahasangh said the residents were also opposed to maintenance that was to be levied on them. On Friday, the government announced the first phase of the new proposed housing policy. While BDD chawl redevelopment was not part of it, it is expected to be announced in its second phase.
“The current tenants of BDD chawls have been residing there for over three generations. The maintenance and safeguarding of property have been done by residents themselves. The government should ensure their say is taken into consideration when deciding on the project. The new homes provided should also be maintenance free,” said Waghmare. He said a recent survey by the state government showed that 60 per cent of the homes given to mill workers were sold by them as they could not afford the levy. He added that a similar fate could be faced by residents of BDD chawls if a high cost of maintenance was levied on them, leading to displacement of the over 1.5 lakh Marathi population currently residing in the chawls.
The groups also opposed roping in MHADA as the nodal agency for redevelopment citing quality issues and instead favouring a consortium formed by the residents. Waghmare said a financier and developer submitted Letters of Interest which was given to the government.
The other demands of the groups include homes of 575 square feet carpet area and transit accommodation till completion of the redevelopment project in the BDD chawl area. The groups also sought benefits for stall owners at the chawl through allocation of alternate space and benefits under the current state government rules to slum-dwellers in the area under redevelopment.
The British had developed the BDD chawls in the 1920s as a low-cost housing solution. There are 207 chawls spread across 93 acres in Worli, Naigaon, NM Joshi Marg and Sewri.