Dharavi makeover project: builders start presenting plans

Underlining the idea that a makeover project for Dharavi is still a sound business project...

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Published: February 11, 2009 12:45:14 am

Underlining the idea that a makeover project for Dharavi is still a sound business project,the first of the 19 shortlisted consortia in the fray for the Rs 15,000-crore redevelopment scheme on Tuesday presented their masterplans to government officials and a panel of experts.

The masterplan presentations precede a deliberative process regarding each plan’s technical merits,which will be followed by the opening of the financial bids. With the election code of conduct expected to kick in during the review process,the opening of financial bids and awarding of contracts are now unlikely to take place until the general elections are over.

Two consortia,DB Realty and a combine of Emaar-MGF,presented their masterplans on the first of a 10-day process,said sources at the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA).

The presentations were made to a team headed by MHADA chief Gautam Chatterjee,also officer on special duty for the Dharavi Redevelopment Project,and members of the expert committee set up to advise the government on planning,management and implementation of the project. The 11-member committee comprises architects,city planners,activists and former bureaucrats including former chief secretary D M Sukhtankar,former IAS officer Sunder Burra,urban planner Vidyadhar Phatak,architect Shirish Patel,housing expert Chandrashekhar Prabhu and others.

“It was a very good beginning,” said Chatterjee,“since both presentations addressed the key issues we hoped would be dealt with. The integration of Dharavi to the mainstream,the need to be sensitive to the economic activities within Dharavi and the need for an eco-sensitive plan were all addressed in today’s presentations.”

Contrary to expectations that several developers are backing out owing to poor market conditions,at least 14 of the 19 have confirmed participation at the presentations,sources added. “Entry prices in Dharavi are still very low,and sale prices are expected to match those in adjoining Bandra-Kurla Complex,where prices are good despite the slump,” said one real estate developer.

Already,the government has tackled bidders’ reservations on some of the preconditions that involve raising credit immediately. For example,officials are looking at reducing the bank guarantees and upfront payments to be made by selected builders. The minimum premium bidders must quote has been fixed at Rs 450 per sq ft of built-up area. That translates into a few hundred crores per sector to be channeled into government coffers,considerably lower than the earlier expected total premium of several thousand crores.

The Dharavi Redevelopment Project aims to rehouse approximately 57,000 slum families in free homes,to be built by investing real estate developers who can exploit the special FSI of 4 for additional commercial development.

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