Dharavi’s residents have decided to oppose tooth and nail any plan by the Maharashtra government to cancel the current tender or reinvite bids for the long-pending redevelopment of Asia’s largest slum.
Dharavi Redevelopment Committee (DRC), a federation of 52 associations of residents, has requested Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to expedite the redevelopment process that’s been in limbo for over 16 years.
It has highlighted the emergency to take the plan ahead in the context of the recent spread of Covid-19 in the heart of India’s financial capital.
“We have already waited for nearly two decades and do not wish to wait anymore after what we have been through because of Covid-19 pandemic. If the tendering process has already been completed, why cancel and delay it further? We will oppose the plan to float fresh tenders,” Rajendra Korde, president of DRC, told.
According to the committee, the government is planning to cancel the tender of Dharavi Redevelopment Project, which has already been completed, on the basis of the opinion of the advocate general raising the issue of railways land that will be added to the entire development plan.
“It is understood that the government intends to invite new tenders by dividing Dharavi in sectors. The chaos and confusion regarding this project has been going on like this for the last 16.5 years and it should be stopped immediately,” the committee said in its letter.
The DRC also suggested that the railways land be excluded from the project if that is proving to be an impediment to the tender process and that the work start immediately.
After almost a decade and a half of deliberations and three attempts to redevelop Dharavi, the Maharashtra government had invited global tenders to start the process, this time projecting it as a single project to build a new business district and township.
Jitendra Awhad, Maharashtra’s housing minister, had recently urged the CM to take steps to move ahead with the redevelopment of Dharavi while highlighting the need to rehabilitate slums and develop a robust health infrastructure in these places.
Amid increasing cases of Covid-19, the World Health Organization last week praised the efforts made to contain the spread in Dharavi, one of the world’s most congested slum clusters. The fast spread of the disease here had earlier proved to be a major challenge for the state government.