Dharavi residents go on a hunger strike; demand bigger homes

Prospective bidders in the Dharavi Redevelopment Project, bidding for sector 1, may face a lot of obstacles. A resident group of nearly 15,000 residents are going on a hunger strike, starting Monday claiming that they want a home measuring 750 square foot.

Due to this, the tenders that were to open on April 7, have been postponed to April 20.

Tenants of one of the sectors of Dharavi claiming to be part of a Resident’s union want more square foot area than what is proposed and they have sent out letters warning the prospective bidders too for the same. Some 16 developers have shown interest in redeveloping Asia’s biggest slum. The Corpus that is being offered is Rs 40,000 but residents claim they should get Rs 10 lakh as corpus too.

Reedan Fernando, DRP sector 1 Rahivasi Kruti Sangh, one of the leader of the resident association claimed that, they have warned the builders, already and even the administration from going ahead with tender process for their sector. "We don't want the builders to wake up one day and realise that, they have already invested the money and now the residents have an issue with the size of the apartments. We also want the administration to understand that the residents aren't happy with what they are being offered. They are saying 405 square foot area, but we want 750 only." he said.

He further claimed that, they have even alerted politicians that they will boycott elections if their demand isn’t met. Starting Monday, for the initial three days, the resident have claimed that they will go on a chain hunger strike.

The residents claim that they have undertaken 100 per cent signatures against DRP in protest and to exclude all estate properties of sector 1 from Dharavi Redevelopment Project, which they have already submitted to Chief Minister and concerned Authorities. Post this they claim they have even met Chief Secretary and other authorities.

Dharavi Redevelopment Project, (DRP) has floated a global tender inviting foreign bidders to redevelop four sectors of Dharavi. The tender was floated on January 30, and the bids will be opened on April 20 (earlier April 7) at the MHADA headquarters in Kalanagar. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 21,936 crore. The move came after CM Devendra Fadnavis gave the project a go-ahead during a meeting with housing ministry officials earlier this year.

Nirmal Kumar Deshmukh, CEO of DRP said, "I am not aware about any hunger strike by residents and claimed that he's not aware about the demand of increase in the size of the home from their side."

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