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Adani Group wins Dharavi redevelopment bid: what is the long-delayed project?

The Adani Group had lost a bid for the project in January 2019. Here's what the project entails, and why it has been delayed for so long.

The Dharavi redevelopment project has been stuck for almost two decades. Dharavi, considered one of the largest slums in the world, sits on real estate gold. (Express file photo by Nirmal Harindran)

The Adani Group has won the bid for the long-delayed Dharavi redevelopment project, which aims to transform a huge slum cluster — located on prime commercial land — in Mumbai.

Confirming the development, SVR Srinivas, Chief Executive officer of the Dharavi Redevelopment Project, told The Indian Express, “The Adani group quoted Rs 5,069 crore for this project, followed by Rs 2,025 crore quoted by the DLF group. Only Adani and DLF qualified in the final bidding. The third, Naman Group, couldn’t make it.”

The Adani Group had lost a bid for the project in January 2019.

The Dharavi redevelopment project has been stuck for almost two decades. Dharavi, considered one of the largest slums in the world, sits on real estate gold. Its redevelopment will involve a massive investment of money upfront, amid tricky complications of land acquisition and rehabilitation. Here’s what the project entails, and why it has been delayed for so long.

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What is the Dharavi redevelopment project?

Dharavi is a mere stone’s throw from India’s richest business district, the Bandra-Kurla Complex, where commercial office premiums are among the highest in the country.

The slum sprawl, spread over 2.8 sqkm, is home to an informal leather and pottery industry which employs over a lakh people. As reported by The Indian Express earlier, the state government had envisaged this sprawl to be transformed into a cluster of high-rises with improved urban infrastructure. It entailed resettling 68,000 people, including slum dwellers and those with commercial establishments.

The state was to provide 300-sqft houses for free to residents with proof that their slum structure was in existence before January 1, 2000, and for a price to those who settled in Dharavi between 2000 and 2011.

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When was the project first proposed?

In 1999, the BJP-Sena government first proposed to redevelop Dharavi. Thereafter, the Maharashtra government in 2003-04 decided to redevelop Dharavi as an integrated planned township, and an action plan for this was approved.

It was decided to develop Dharavi by using land as a resource to cross-subsidise the cost of development through a sale component on the basis of the Slum Rehabilitation Scheme. It would be divided into sectors and developers appointed for them. The government also decided to notify the whole of Dharavi as an undeveloped area and to appoint a Special Planning Authority for its development.

In 2011, the government cancelled all tenders and drew up a master plan.

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In 2018, the BJP-Sena government formed a Special purpose vehicle for Dharavi and notified it for the redevelopment project. Later, global tenders were invited.

Adani’s loss in 2019

Although Dubai-based infrastructure firm Seclink Technologies Corporation turned out to be a successful bidder in January 2019 against Adani, the tender was not awarded following the decision to include Railway land in the redevelopment project.

By 2020, the Maharashtra government had changed, and in October of that year, the Uddhav Thackrey-led Maharshtra Vikas Aghadi government cancelled the tender and said new tenders would be floated soon. The MVA government had alleged that one of the reasons for calling off the tender was the delay by the Centre in transferring railway land vital for the project.

After the government changed again with Eknath Shinde taking over as CM, the issue of land transfer from the Centre was believed to have been resolved, and fresh tenders were invited.

First published on: 29-11-2022 at 18:09 IST
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