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MHADA wants to call Dharavi transit camp 'Sion' to lure residents

What’s in a name? We asked the chairman of MHADA’s repair and reconstruction board, Prasad Lad, who has been trying get permission for the rechristening of two of the state housing agency’s transit camps in the city lately. The two camps that he wants renamed are located in Dharavi and Ferbandar, Mazgaon respectively.


According to officials, residents of cessed buildings in south Mumbai are always unwilling to move to the transit camp in Dharavi (above), because the area has the status of a slum. Pic/Rane Ashish

While the camp in Dharavi houses 600 homes, the one in Mazgaon has 1,300 homes. Lad has suggested that the Dharavi’s transit camp be renamed Vasantrao Naik Nagar, Sion and the one in Mazgaon be named Yashwantrao Chavan Nagar.

Asked about the name change, Lad said, “Not many people from South Mumbai are willing to come to a place called the Dharavi Transit camp, because of its status as a slum. Moreover, the transit camp is more towards Sion, and that should be indicated in the name. I have suggested Vasantrao Naik Nagar, as it is his birth centenary this year.”

Lad also explained that Ferbandar in Mazgaon, which has nearly 1300 homes, doesn’t have a proper address. “The residents of this place do not know what to say when they are asked what their address is. Hence, I suggested that the place be named Yashwantrao Chavan Nagar,” he said. Vasantrao and Yashwantrao are both former chief ministers of the state, with the latter being the first chief minister of the state.

Lad has written about the name change to the chief minister, the state housing minister, the principal secretary of housing and the CEO of MHADA. “No one in South Mumbai would like to stay in Dharavi, as its claim to fame is the fact that it is the biggest slum in Asia. People prefer to stay in old buildings even if their lives are in danger. We don’t want people to lose their lives and if a change in name can help woo them to the camps, then so be it,” explained an officer.

In danger
On Saturday, MHADA released a list of the most dangerous buildings in the city. The list, which had 12 addresses last year, has 16 this year, with seven new buildings being added to nine from last year’s list. All the buildings are situated in the island city and MHADA claims that they all need to be vacated for redevelopment.

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