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Why doesn't MHADA want to redevelop entire Dharavi?

According to sources, the body wants to exclude Sector 3 from redevelopment, so as to ensure that private developers can get involved in the project

The much-delayed Dharavi Redevelopment Plan (DRP) is yet to kick off, but according to sources, the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA), which is going to helm the project, has written to the state government asking it to exclude a large section of the area from the plan. 


Dharavi, Asia's largest slum. MHADA has reportedly written to the 
government asking it to remove Sector 3 from redevelopment. File Photo

Many fear that this is a ploy to get private players involved in the redevelopment of that particular area. According to MHADA officials, the area in question -- Sector 3 -- has a total of 70 hectares and over 60 per cent of this land comes under various agencies, which includes the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking (BEST),  Collector's Office, and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), and getting permission from these various bodies for redevelopment of their lands will further delay the project. 

Officials also claim that this redevelopment puzzle is further compounded by the fact that there are large number of illegal encroachments in this sector. It is believed that there are over 12,600 huts and shanties in this area. According to a 2009 survey by Mashal, a non-government organisation, there are at least 9,289 families living in this area.

Speaking to Sunday MiD DAY, a MHADA official said, "We have written to the Maharashtra government telling them that we can't include Sector 3 in our redevelopment plan. A majority of the encroachment in this sector is on private land, so it will prove difficult to acquire the land." Making a case for excluding the area from redevelopment, he added, "Even if we start the land acquisition work, it will take at least 10 years to get the land in our procession, after which we will have to start the redevelopment work. Its better to exclude it from our plan." 

However, sources claim that the motive behind this new development is to allow private developers to come forward and develop this area. A highly-placed MHADA official said on condition of anonymity , "The main reason is that some officials want to ensure that private developers come forward as huge profits are involved."

For the purpose of redevelopment, Dharavi has been divided into five sectors. While work will commence at Sector 5, it has been agreed that only 23 hectares of this 62-hectare large sector will come under development. The rest of the land, much like Sector 3, is apparently owned by various agencies like the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited and BEST. However, officials claim that there won't be much trouble redeveloping this area since it does not have large encroachments like Sector 3 does. 

The total cost of this project is expected to touch Rs 2,000 crore, and once complete, around 5,000 houses will be available to the body to provide to citizens through a lottery system. 

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