Residents of the slum want the government to put redevelopment plans in action within the next three months or let the people get the redevelopment done themselves.
Last week, a few Dharavi residents met officers responsible for redevelopment plans and demanded that work begin within the next three months, failing which they would take matters into their own hands.
Dharavi was the first target location on the government’s list after it decided to model Mumbai on the lines of Shanghai. There are around 1.5 lakh shanties in Dharavi and the government decided to redevelop the area in 2003-04. Almost a decade later, not a single brick has moved and things have gone from bad to worse.
Recently, the MHADA came out with tenders for redevelopment of Dharavi’s Sector V in January and June, but had to cancel plans because of lack of competition as only two developers had come forward.
Hariram Dilliwala (65), a Dharavi resident since 1980, claims that he and few others met the officers and placed an ultimatum before them. “We told the officers that if they do not start work soon, we will ask them to leave Dharavi alone and we would do everything ourselves. It’s better that we redevelop Dharavi instead of being dependent on the authority that has not done anything till date,” Dilliwala said.
Sayyed Liyakat Ali (56), president of Proud Foundation, comprising of residents of Dharavi, was part of the delegation that met the senior officers. He claims that the residents demanded that Dharavi in its entirety be developed and not just Sector V. “Why only one sector? If they don’t, then we residents, will protest and even sit on a hunger strike if necessary.”
According to residents, several builders are prepared to pour money into redeveloping Dharavi. “Builders say that we should not let the government redevelop Dharavi and are offering us better incentives. However, we first want to give the opportunity to the government and opt for private parties if they fail to commence work within the time period,” said a Dharavi resident.