Maharashtra government plans to fast-track Dharavi redevelopment, fresh bids likely soon

August 23, 2022
 File photo
File photo

The Maharashtra government is likely to soon invite fresh bids to redevelop Dharavi, Asia’s largest slum spread over 600 acres of prime land in Mumbai, as the government expects to clear all the hurdles related to the project within three months.

In October 2020, the then state government had scrapped the earlier tender for the redevelopment project that has been in the making for the last 16 years.

Over the weekend, at a meeting of BJP’s elected representatives from Mumbai, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis stated the same while assuring the residents of Dharavi will soon get their new homes.

In an earlier meeting with Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) Commissioner SVR Srinivas, Fadnavis had taken stock of the issues related to the project.

Prior to the appointment in MMRDA, Srinivas was heading the special purpose vehicle (SPV) set up by the earlier Fadnavis-led government to implement the Dharavi Redevelopment Project.

“Reviewed Dharavi Redevelopment project in Mantralaya, Mumbai this afternoon and will follow up with the Government of India to get railway land required for this project,” Fadnavis had tweeted after the meeting with MMRDA Commissioner.

The Dharavi redevelopment will not only be a game changer for Mumbai but will also transform the political landscape for years to come.

According to experts, the project will be a big opportunity for slum-dwellers and will also help urban planners, human rights activists and the state government to transform the face of Mumbai city altogether.

“The current state government, especially Fadnavis, is keen on putting Dharavi redevelopment on a fast track,” said one of the persons who attended the meeting of BJP’s elected Mumbai representatives on Saturday.

With the upcoming elections for civic body Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), the Dharavi redevelopment has come to the fore again.

In August 2020, the Committee of Secretaries (CoS) had taken a call on the Dharavi Redevelopment tender suggesting cancellation of the tender and proposed the same to the then state government.

The CoS had recommended the same based on the advice by the Advocate General (AG). After floating the tender and receiving bids, the state government acquired nearly 46 acres of land for Rs 800 crore from the Indian Railways. Post acquiring this land and making it a part of the project, the advice from the AG was sought that advised for fresh tenders.

In 2018, the state government had approved the plan to redevelop Dharavi as a single project and went ahead with a single global tender. The area was being promoted as a residential cluster and Mumbai’s new business district, given its central location and proximity to the Bandra-Kurla Complex.

Seclink Technologies, funded by the royal families of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, had emerged as the highest bidder with its bid of over $1 billion for the project to redevelop the slum spread over 600 acres, following the global bids invited by the government in 2018. However, the project could not take off.

The earlier plan, prior to 2018 global tenders, was to divide Dharavi into five sectors, one to be redeveloped by the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) and the other four by private entities. However, the plan did not progress beyond a few buildings constructed by the MHADA.

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