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New architect, fresh hope for Dharavi slums

After lying in limbo for 8 yrs, the Dharavi Redevelopment Project is all set be revived, with MHADA preparing to float tenders for a new consultant 

It was February 4, 2004, when the state government passed an ambitious resolution stating it would redevelop Asia's biggest slum area in Sector 5 of Dharavi. Eight years have passed, and no measures taken to implement the resolution. In order to revive the Dharavi Redevelopment Project (DRP), the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) will be inviting tenders to appoint a new consultant for the project on Monday.


Change for the better: A MHADA official, requesting anonymity, revealed
that the new consultant was being sought as the housing body was not
pleased with the work of architect Mukesh Mehta, who is managing the
Dharavi Redevelopment Project (DRP). File Pic


A MHADA official, requesting anonymity, revealed that the new consultant was being sought as the housing body was not pleased with the work of the architect who is overseeing the DRP.

At present, Mukesh Mehta is the Project Management Consultant, who was appointed at the beginning of the project, and was instrumental in laying the groundwork for the entire design of the 535-acre plot that is split into five sectors. The decision to replace the consultant was also made after financial considerations were made about Mehta's remuneration.

"MHADA has already paid Mehta an amount of Rs 10 crore for his work, but we feel that the work was not up to mark and so we want a new consultant to be appointed," said a MHADA official.

Sector 5 was allotted to MHADA in 2010, but in the same year a controversy regarding the payment to be made to Mehta erupted, as he had complained that Dharavi Redevelopment Authority (DRA) hadn't paid him. The government also passed a resolution (GR) directing the DRA to pay him.

"On Monday we will be inviting tenders for the appointment of a new consultant who will work on the entire redevelopment plan in Sector 5 of Dharavi, which will be developed on pilot basis by MHADA. The new consultant appointed will rework the entire plan and we won't be using any of the previous consultant's work," said the MHADA official. 

According to an anonymous highly placed source, "Along with Sector 5, MHADA is also planning to redevelop Sector 3. While refurbishing Sector 5, MHADA will have to resettle and rehabilitate (R&R) nearly 69,000 families, and it expects to earn Rs 8,000 crore from the DRP," said the official.

Officials working on this DRP also mentioned that it will be easy to develop Sector 5 in Dharavi, 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.

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