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Dharavi development project inches ahead

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Redevelopment of Asia's largest slum, launched decade ago, has made progress despite hurdles. (AP) Redevelopment of Asia's largest slum, launched decade ago, has made progress despite hurdles. (AP)
SummaryRedevelopment of Asia's largest slum, launched decade ago, has made progress despite hurdles.

scale manufacturing units such as that of garments, leather, pottery, food processing, imitation jewelry, oil and chemical container recycling etc. The modest estimate of annual turnover of these businesses crosses Rs 200 crore. These units have spaces ranging from 200 sq ft to 1,000 sq.ft. These businesses are also demanding more space over and above what is offered to them and that too free, and at the same place. Many of these units are dealing with toxic and highly polluting materials. Gifting larger spaces and allowing such material officially may not be possible under present policies and regulations.

Private land owners

Since plots in Dharavi are basically owned by private entities they have to be merged to make larger floor-plates for bigger structures to come up to rehabilitate more slum dwellers.

However, many private land owners are refusing to join the initiative. Either they are asking astronomical price for their piece of land or are asking for permission for self-development. Both are not advisable in a project of this magnitude.

Efforts are underway to convince them to join-in. There are efforts to acquire railway land as well. However, both these issues will take time and big investments, making this project more expensive, delayed and in turn potentially less viable.

It has been almost a decade since the Dharavi project began. It is now at a critcal state. The problems it faces and the alternatives it will come up with, will be an example for such projects in other states.

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