Dharavi redevelopment gets last ditch push

Government offers residents 350 sq ft homes instead of 400; residents may relent after 12-year wait

This may be the last deal the government is likely to offer Dharavi residents in the much-hyped Dharavi redevelopment plan. If they decline, the project could lie in cold storage.

The new approach taken by the government is that instead of the 269 sq ft homes that were originally offered to residents, they will now be given 350 sq ft homes.

The government, under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Swadheen Kshatriya, will be finalising its decision in a meeting likely to be held in the next two weeks. It now seems that the residents, who are tired of waiting, are ready to settle.

The Dharavi Redevelopment Project (DRP) covers an area of 240.35 hectares of which 57.68 hectares is owned privately and needs to be acquired for the project. Dharavi is divided into five sectors; Sector V is being developed by MHADA. Nirmal Kumar Deshmukh, head of DRP, confirmed that the homes will be 350 sq ft in size.

“There are demands from the public, but not all can be granted. I am sure this proposal will be accepted,” he said. Dharavi shot to lime light after the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra Vilasrao Deshmukh had the grand plan to transform Mumbai into Shanghai, and this redevelopment plan was at his vision centre.

However, since its inception in 2003, not much has transpired, except for one building built in Sector V. Last year, MHADA had appointed a project management consultant to prepare a plan to expedite work, and decided on 18-floor buildings. It’s still in planning stage.

Dharavi residents say, after 12 years, they do not mind settling for the said size. Hariram Dilliwala, founder member of People's Responsible Organisation of United Dharavi (PROUD), one of the key organisations fighting for the redevelopment, said, “It’s been a long wait for us. We had initial opposed the smaller sized apartments, and demanded 400 sq ft homes, but now, we will take what they offer, just as long as redevelopment happens.”

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