The Maharashtra government approved new tenders for the Dharavi renovation on Wednesday, some two decades after it was initially planned.
Dharavi is located on great property in the heart of Mumbai. It is at a short distance from India’s most affluent business centre, the Bandra-Kurla Complex, where commercial office prices are among the highest in the country.
The 2.8-square-kilometer slum sprawl is home to an informal leather and ceramics industry that employs over a lakh people. The state intended to turn this sprawl into a cluster of high-rises with enhanced urban infrastructure. It necessitated the relocation of 68,000 individuals, including slum residents and business owners.
The state was supposed to offer 300-square-foot dwellings for free to people who could show that their slum structure existed before January 1, 2000, and for a fee to individuals who moved to Dharavi between 2000 and 2011. The project was first proposed in 2004, but it never got off the ground for a variety of reasons.
The BJP-Sena government originally suggested redeveloping Dharavi in 1999. Following that, the Maharashtra government decided in 2003-04 to reconstruct Dharavi as an integrated planned township. A redevelopment action plan was authorised by a government decision.
It was determined to develop Dharavi by splitting it into areas and hiring developers to cross-subsidize the cost of development through a selling component based on the Slum Rehabilitation Scheme. The government has decided to declare Dharavi as an undeveloped region and establish a Special Planning Authority to oversee its development.
The government stopped all bidding and developed a master plan in 2011. The BJP-Sena government established a Special Purpose Vehicle for Dharavi in 2018 and informed it of the reconstruction project. Global tenders were later requested.
When the Detailed Project Report was completed during the Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP-Shiv Sena administration in 2016, it gave the project a boost. The then-Fadnavis administration authorised a new blueprint for the slum’s reconstruction in November 2018. Although Dubai-based infrastructure firm Seclink Technologies Corporation was a winning bidder against Adani in January 2019, the tender was not granted due to the decision to include Railway land in the rehabilitation project.
The Maharshtra Vikas Aghadi administration of Uddhav Thackrey cancelled the offer in October 2020, saying fresh tenders will be issued shortly. The MVA administration said that one of the grounds for cancelling the offer was the Centre’s delay in transferring the railway land, which was critical to the project.
The problem of land transfer from the Centre is said to have been settled with the swearing in of the new Eknath Shinde administration. As a result, the state administration has decided to issue new tenders for the project.