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Dharavi dreams back on drawing board with promise of bigger houses

Fadnavis said, we have to still decide if we should give houses of 300 square feet or 400 square feet.

Written by MANASI PHADKE | Mumbai |
May 8, 2015 1:09:52 am
 Dharavi Fadnavis said that giving 400-square-foot houses to the eligible slumdwellers will necessitate granting the developers more area in the sale component.

The ambitious metamorphosis of Dharavi’s slums into planned high-rise clusters, open spaces and adequate social amenities is back on the drawing board, more than a decade after it was first planned, six months after a regime change in the state.

Not only that, the BJP-Shiv Sena government is now thinking of offering bigger houses of 400-square-feet for slum residents instead of the 300-square-feet houses the previous government had proposed. Giving Dharavi residents houses measuring 400 square feet free of cost had been a long-standing demand of the Shiv Sena, whose MLA Ravindra Waikar is now the minister of state for housing.

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Ahead of the Assembly elections last year, the previous Congress-NCP government had almost finalised a draft development plan for the 240-hectare sprawl and envisaged setting up 300-square-feet free houses for those to be rehabilitated. The draft plan and the tender documents had only needed the former chief minister’s nod for the project to get off the drawing board.

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Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who reviewed the project on Thursday, said, “We have to still decide if we should give houses of 300 square feet or 400 square feet in the Dharavi redevelopment plan before calling for tenders.”

Fadnavis said that giving 400-square-foot houses to the eligible slumdwellers will necessitate granting the developers more area in the sale component. “Since Dharavi lies close to the airport, there are height restrictions on the buildings so we might have to compensate the developers by giving Transfer of Development Rights, which could impact the project’s viability for them. We will discuss with the Ministry of Civil Aviation whether the height restrictions can be relaxed,” the chief minister said.

Buildings coming up in proximity to the airport have to get a ‘no objection certificate’ for a height clearance from the Airports Authority of India to ensure that the airspace around airports is free of any obstacles and highrises do not interfere with radar signals or flight paths.

NCP’s Sachin Ahir, who was minister of state, housing, in the previous government, said, “Everything was ready under our government.

The only formality was the chief minister’s approval, before which the government changed. It is unfortunate that Dharavi residents will have to wait longer for the project. The government should not look at this as a political issue, but a human issue.”

The decade-old story of dharavi redevelopment project

2004: A chief secretary-led taskforce, constituted to prepare an action plan for Mumbai’s transformation, recommended the redevelopment of Dharavi as one of its key suggestions. The same year, the government appointed a project management consultant, Mukesh Mehta. Work on physical enumeration of land details with structures and slumdwellers started.

2007: A fresh socio-economic baseline survey based on geographical information system was ordered. The Dharavi Redevelopment Project authority invited expressions of interest from developers. Fourteen developers responded, of which seven later dropped out.

2011: The state government cancelled the tenders and gave the mandate of developing Sector 5 of the five sectors in Dharavi to MHADA. The project authority started working on the draft development plan and tenders for the other four sectors.

2014: The only building with 358 houses that MHADA had started constructing was completed. The project authority completed the draft development plan and sent it to the state government for approval.

2015: The only building constructed is lying empty with the authority still determining the list of slumdwellers eligible for the houses.

manasi.phadke@expressindia.com

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