MUMBAI: After several failed attempts, the Dharavi Redevelopment Project is being revived yet again. The state government’s plan to divide the sprawling slum into 12 sub-clusters and redevelop it, has been scrapped.
On Tuesday, the state cabinet approved a fresh plan: Dharavi will be redeveloped as a whole, not in parts. A special purpose vehicle (SPV) will be set up-with 80% private stake and 20% government contribution- to execute the Rs 22,000-crore project. Global tenders will be issued for its construction, said housing minister Prakash Mehta.
The three lakh slum-dwellers are being promised even larger homes. “The families will get a minimum 350 sqft if they are currently living in 300sqft homes. Tenements above 300sqft will get 405sqft homes, and those having homes over a 500 sqft will get an additional 35% area,” said Mehta.
If the Dharavi redevelopment project gets delayed further, the cost is expected to escalate to Rs 40,000 crore, said sources.
This is not the first time that the government set up a SPV to redevelop Dharavi. In 2011, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan of Congress had floated a similar model and even invited global tenders. The entire exercise was scrapped as it did not get the expected response. In 2016 too, global tenders had been issued and the project again failed to get any response. This time round the cabinet has approved a proposal wherein the SPV with 80% private stake and 20% government contribution will have a special status.
“This will enable the project to obtain concessions in stamp duty, state GST repayment and relaxation in premium for fungible floor space index (FSI),” said a senior official from the housing department. Under the new plan, the land owned by Central Railway (90 acres) which abuts Dharavi will also be part of the redevelopment project. Sources said discussions with the railways are at a preliminary stage.
“Dharavi redevelopment has simply failed to take off though the government in 2003 declared it a vital infrastructure project and offered an FSI of 4. This is because it is in the airport funnel zone and there is a height restriction so there is no way a developer can utilise the entire FSI,” said a senior bureaucrat.
The Maharashtra Housing Area Development Authority’s (Mhada’s) attempt to redevelop a part of Dharavi (Sector 5) also failed as local residents categorically refused to allow it to carry out redevelopment. “Mhada does not enjoy the trust of the residents and so it could construct only one building, which till recently was unoccupied,” said a former housing secretary, who had headed Mhada at the time of the redevelopment.
Political observers, however, rubbished the new plan saying it was nothing but ‘wishful thinking’ with an eye on the forthcoming Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.