Dharavi residents throw wrench in MHADA's works

The Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) which had earlier refused to be swayed by the demands of the Dharavi Bachao Andolan (DAB) has finally succumbed to the pressure and stopped the construction work at Sector-5 in Dharavi, within just a month of commencement. The construction is part of the Dharavi Redevelopment Project, which was being opposed by residents demanding an increase in the proposed space allotment per tenement.

Starting problems: The construction work in Dharavi that commenced last month has now been suspended after the contractor received threats from nearby residents. File pic

Speaking to MiD DAY, a senior MHADA official said, “We had started the piling work a few days ago at Sector-5, which is a part of Dharavi Redevelopment Project. A couple of days back, some people from the area came to the site and threatened the contractor to stop the work. The contractor has informed us to sort out the matter with the DBA, after which work will resume.”

The original plans detailed the construction of three 14-floor buildings in Sector-5, with a total number of 356 tenements of 300 sq ft each.

Members of DBA said that they would not allow MHADA to start the work unless it promised them 400 sq ft homes. However, in the past, MHADA had made it clear that the idea of 400 sq ft homes was an unrealistic demand and so, the housing authority decided that it would go ahead with the work while taking police protection.

A delegation of senior Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai and a few members from DBA met MHADA Vice President Satish Gavai last week and discussed the matter with him. “We requested him to start the work on the project after the winter session of the state assembly, as the demand for 400 sq ft houses for Dharavi residents is likely to be discussed in the session. We stand firm behind our decision,” said a member associated with DBA .

Local residents have also been saying that the state government will earn a huge amount of revenue by selling the commercial area after the redevelopment and so they feel their demand is justified.

Members of the group allege that the survey conducted by an architect from MHADA was flawed, and lacks precise data of the residents. The housing authority plans to develop the 153-acre Sector-5 adjoining Sion and Bandra-Kurla Complex. 

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