Mumbai: BDD chawl redevelopment set back by five years

Files pertaining to the redevelopment of the chawls spread over 92 acres in Worli, Lower Parel, Matunga and other areas were lost in the 2012 Mantralaya fire; they contained the results of five years of hard work on the issue

Work on the redevelopment of 92 acres of Bombay Development Directorate (BDD) chawls has been set back by nearly five years, as the files on how the project would be undertaken were lost in the 2012 Mantralaya fire. State minister for housing, Ravindra Waikar, realised this earlier this week when he asked his secretary to get him the papers of the redevelopment.

A BBD chawl in Lower Parel. Thousands of people live in the 200-odd such chawls in the city
A BBD chawl in Lower Parel. Thousands of people live in the 200-odd such chawls in the city

The lost files contained the result of five years of hard work between 2007 and 2012 on the redevelopment, which will provide better housing to thousands of tenants of nearly 200 BDD chawls located in south central Mumbai, especially, in Worli, Lower Parel, Naigaon and Matunga. Apart from the existing tenants, this redevelopment will result in 15,000 homes being built for the common man and, if Waikar is to be believed, solve the issue of housing for mill workers.

Ravindra Waikar, the state housing minister, said, “When I asked my secretary to get me the documents of the BDD chawl redevelopment, he told me that the housing department had informed him the papers were lost in the June 2012 Mantralaya fire. Now, I will have to restart the planning as I want the redevelopment of BDD chawls to happen as soon as possible.”

The chawls are two-to-three storey structures constructed during the British Era, and were mostly occupied by the mill workers because of their proximity to the mills. They have small one-room kitchen apartments and tenants have been asking for flats measuring 500 sq ft post-redevelopment.

Fresh planning
The government wants the BDD chawls to be developed under the cluster redevelopment scheme, which comes under 33 (9) of the Development Control Rules (DCR). Under this scheme, the government will able to use the highest FSI of 4 and also 35 per cent of fungible FSI.

“MHADA will be developing the property, and we will be doing it under DCR 33(9), where the permissible FSI is 4, and we will also use fungible FSI. Thus, the construction will be bigger. This way, we will get nearly 15,000 homes that MHADA can sell to the common man and the mill worker housing issue will also be solved,” said Waikar.

“What bothers me, however, is that the files that were lost in the fire had various reports and comments from eminent people who worked on the redevelopment issue for nearly five to six years. Now all that is gone, and we will have to begin again,” he added.

Waikar has called a meeting of bureaucrats and other officials related to the BDD chawls redevelopment on January 13 to decide on the future course of action. He claims he will decide on the redevelopment issue and deliver results within six months.

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