CM Chavan announces drastic changes in Dharavi's redevelopment plan

Hours before the code of conduct for the civic polls came into effect, CM announced some drastic changes in the Development Control Rules of the Dharavi makeover plan

At noon yesterday, when the state Election Commission was gearing up to announce the schedule of the much-awaited civic elections, the sixth floor of Mantralaya was abuzz with activity, with babus working hard on a few more sops that could be declared before the code of conduct came into effect.

Home truth: Some of the slum dwellers celebrate soon after Chief
Minister Prithviraj Chavan announced changes in the Development Control
Rules and the policy for the Dharavi makeover plan. Pic Sameer Markande

And this time, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan -- who has been facing veiled criticism by his own for taking considerable time in taking decisions -- had done his homework and surprised all. Exhibiting his party's resolve to go all out for the polls, Chavan played a well-thought out gamble, as the announcement he made will take quite some time to materialise.

While on Monday, the CM announced a new medical college for the city, two hospitals in suburbs, makeover of the JJ Hospital, protection to slums, and reservation of 20 per cent plots or flats in big projects, yesterday he read out more from his list of sops for Mumbaikars.

New Year's gift
Chavan announced some major changes in the Development Control Rules (DCR) and policy of the Dharavi makeover plan. He declared that MHADA or any other public sector undertaking would act as a nodal agency for the Dharavi re-development project (Sector 5). Besides, competitive bids would be invited for re-development of the slum pocket, and slums and chawls would now be re-developed on the lines of cluster development.

The CM also said that each resident would get a carpet area of 300 sq ft tenement in the name of both husband and wife and a 10-year corpus fund will be set up for the maintenance of re-developed buildings.

Chavan also assured that small businesses in Dharavi would be protected under the scheme. Chavan also announced some amendments in the DCR with far reaching impact on the development of housing stock in Mumbai. The proposed changes would not only establish a level-playing field for developers, but also reduce arbitrary decision making, he claimed.

Affordable homes
The CM claimed that the decision would bring down property prices, as under the new DCR, areas of balcony, flowerbeds, terraces, voids, niches would be counted in the FSI.

Hurdles ahead
The announcements made by CM about the new medical college has a few hurdles such as availability of funds worth Rs 100 crore to start it and Rs 480 crore for the JJ Hospital makeover with super specialty facilities. According to sources, the state is eyeing MMRDA funds for the JJ makeover.

Also, the announcement of protection to pre-1995 slum structures has come with a rider. CM has clarified that it was a temporary relief pending some amendments to Section 33 (10) of the DCR.

Poll schedule
Filing of nominations: January 24 to 31
Scrutiny of nominations: February 1
Last date to withdraw: February 3
Date of polling: February 16
Counting of votes may begin soon after the polling or on February 17, depending on the local situation.

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