Residents to MHADA: Defer Dharavi revamp pilot project

Seeing that the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) has started work on the Dharavi Redevelopment Project on a pilot basis in Sector-5, the Dharavi Bachao Andolan (DBA) has requested MHADA officials to defer the work till the Winter Session of the state legislature is over.

Kick off: MHADA has commenced work on the redevelopment of 153-acre Sector-5 area in Dharavi on a pilot basis. File Pic

The DBA, which is opposed to the project, is arguing that there are chances that the issue of 400 sq ft houses for Dharavi residents will be discussed in the assembly.

As the DBA had declared that it would not allow the work to start till its demands were met, MHADA launched the work at Sector-5 with the help of the police.

A delegation of Shiv Sena senior leader Subhash Desai and a few members of the DBA met MHADA vice-president Satish Gavai on Tuesday and discussed the matter with him.

“We met the VP and requested him that the work should start after the Winter Session of the assembly as the demand for 400 sq ft houses for Dharavi residents is likely to be discussed in the session,” a member of the delegation who is associated with the DBA said. “We are firm on our decision of 400 sq ft houses.”

MHADA sources said Gavai told the delegation that any decision about giving 400 sq ft houses to the residents can only be taken by the government as it would be a policy matter.

DBA members have often said they will not allow MHADA to start the work unless it promises them 400 sq ft houses, a demand MHADA has termed unrealistic.

Under the current terms, the government is giving 300 sq ft houses to Dharavi residents.

Minister of State for Housing Sachin Ahir said the piling work for the construction of buildings in Sector-5 had started and any remaining issues such as eligibility would be looked at and sorted out.

“In order to expedite work in the remaining sectors and to solve the eligibility criteria issue, the government has decided to depute a deputy collector rank officer who will look into the eligibility aspect,” Ahir said. Residents have also been saying that the state government is going to earn vast revenue by selling the commercial area that it will get after the redevelopment and so they want the government to give 400 sq ft houses to all of them.

Members of the group opposing the current redevelopment deal also alleged that the survey conducted by an architect from MHADA was flawed, lacking precise data regarding the residents.

Under the pilot project that has started, MHADA will be developing the 153-acre Sector-5 adjoining Sion and Bandra Kurla Complex. 

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