Mumbai: The redevelopment of Dharavi slums has hit another roadblock. Now, a group of residents under the banner of Dharavi Bachao Andolan (DBA) is demanding that every inhabitant in Dharavi must be given a 400 sq-ft house against the 300 sq-ft ascertained by the state government. The organisation formed by local residents made it clear on Sunday that they won’t allow the government to start redevelopment work unless their demand is met.
“In the name of redevelopment, the government wants to force local residents out of the area. We are not against development, but the government should provide us with our demand, else we won’t allow the government to start work on the project,” said Baburao Mane, ex-Shiv Sena MLA and president of DBA.
Members of the group also allege that the survey conducted by an architect from the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) was flawed, and lacks precise data of the residents. They are also demanding a conduct of a fresh survey. “I am working in this unit since 1985 and we want the redevelopment, but authorities have informed my proprietor that he will only get a 300 sq-ft house in spite of this being a 1,000 sq-ft workshop. How can we sustain our business from such a small place?” said Usman, an employee at a plastic recycling unit, Dharavi.
According to the redevelopment provisions, the government will develop 532 acres of land, and it has already pronounced that as the project is a special project it will get an FSI of four. The group has also expressed apprehensions over the benefits of the project. Dilip Katke from DBA, said, “The state government will be the biggest beneficiary, as they will earn a windfall by selling commercial space after the redevelopment. Hence, we want the government to give all Dharavi residents 400 sq-ft houses.”
Former Shiv Sena corporator Ramkrishna Keni from DBA also said that apart from their demand, the government should also make available a corpus fund to residents. “We want at least Rs 10 lakh corpus fund before the work starts. Apart from this there are 57 private properties in Dharavi, and the authorities should allow owners of these properties to develop their own land, if need be,” he said.