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Dharavi Redevelopment Takes Off On ĎASAP Basisí

After the state government’s decision to hand over the redevelopment of Dharavi to Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA), the agency had its first meeting to chart out a road map for the project on Tuesday. While principal secretary (housing) Gautam Chatterjee asked the officials to take up the project as soon as possible, the authority’s top brass will take a month to appoint project management consultants. 

MHADA vice-president Satish Gawai said that since the state has now shown great faith in its capability, Mhada will be on war footing to take the project ahead. “There is a lot of human element attached to the project. Dharavi redevelopment has been discussed in drawing rooms and meetings for over a decade. Now the government wants us to take up sector 5 on ‘ASAP basis’. In another 15-20 days, it will be floating tenders for the consultants. Our officials have the basic knowledge about redevelopment, but expertise vis-a-vis Dharavi needs to be explored,” Gawai told DNA. 
Senior MHADA officials said that keeping in mind the social importance of the project, a special cell with a senior officer in charge will be launched. “This cell will hear out grievances of the residents,” said an official. He added that the eligibility survey carried out by NGO Mashal, will be treated as a base for the project. The residents will get 300 sq ft houses after redevelopment. “We do not expect much resistance to this offer as people in Dharavi are tired of the living conditions there,” opined an official. 

Although the authority has expressed confidence that it has the funds for the first round of redevelopment, which is likely to cost approximately Rs 2,000 crore, senior officials said that MHADA has many options. “The World Bank and the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation have shown interest in participating in Dharavi redevelopment. If needed, we can always approach them. The state as well as the Centre can also be approached,” said an official. 

Source: May 27, 2011, DNA