It seems that the largest constituent of Slumbai is here to stay a while. The Dharavi redevelopment project (DRP), already delayed once, may fall further behind schedule owing to pending environmental clearances.
Before setting about developing sector 5 in Dharavi, the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) will have to take permissions from the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) as the area falls under Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ). The Mithi River is just a few metres away from this area.
In the past few years, it has been observed that getting MoEF consent is not only a daunting but also a time-intensive task. Already, the DRP is lagging behind. It came to a halt three years ago when international bidders planning to bid for the project backed off at the last minute on account of global recession.
Chief officer of MHADA’s Mumbai Board Bhausaheb Dangade said, “We are well aware of the fact that the sector 5 in Dharavi which MHADA is going to develop on a pilot basis comes under CRZ.
We have already sent proposals to the MoEF, seeking clearance so that we can start the work.” MHADA has not experienced how tedious the process of getting the MoEF’s nod can be, as other state agencies like the MMRDA and MSRDC have.
Two months ago, the state government cleared new development control regulations for the Rs 15,000 crore DRP. MHADA has already invited tenders for the appointment of new project management consultant for sector 5. It is difficult to say how long it will have to wait to get the ministry’s go-ahead.
Some officials in MHADA feel that if the clearance had been taken earlier, MHADA would have saved time. “This is what is called bad planning. If the official overseeing this project had applied for MoEF clearance earlier, then the time MHADA will have to bide now would have been saved.
Now, god knows how many more years we will have to wait in order to develop sector 5,” said an official from MHADA requesting anonymity.
The housing body is also planning to redevelop sector 3. Officials mentioned that it would be easy to develop sector 5, but developing Sector 3 will be a daunting task, as there is a large amount of land that belongs to private owners in this area.
For refurbishing sector 5 , MHADA will have to resettle and rehabilitate nearly 69,000 families, and it expects to earn Rs 8,000 crore from the DRP.