Dharavi plan faces further delay

Written by Prachi Karnik Pradhan | Mumbai | Updated: Oct 22 2007, 05:31am hrs
The Rs 9,250 crore Dharavi Redevelopment Project (DRP), which has been dogged by delays, is not likely to take off before March next. The delays have been largely because of non-completion of certain procedures, including carrying out socio-economic surveys that are expected to be complete only by February next.

Besides, the scheme has been under attack from various experts, former bureaucrats, NGOs and developers for the manner in which it has been structured. As per the original plan, the bidders for the project should have been shortlisted by September 1. However, the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) is in the midst of scrutinising the expressions of interest filed by 26 consortiums.

The project was also marred by strong opposition from local residents, activists and political parties. Bowing to pressure from local residents, the Maharashtra government-promoted SRA, which is implementing the redevelopment of Dharavi, Asia's largest slum, proposes to set up a local-level citizens consultative committee and an advisory committee of experts.

T Chandrashekhar, officer on special duty for the DRP, recently roped in Mashaal, an NGO, to carry out a detailed baseline socio-economic survey. Sharad Mahajan, executive head, Mashaal, and an urban planner, told FE that the detailed survey that was started in October was likely to be completed by February 15 next.

Elaborating on the survey, Mahajan said, The survey would be carried out in four phases - the cadastral survey (a fresh plane table survey), a one-line survey, a baseline socio-economic survey and biometrics-based survey (taking fingerprints of the head of the families of households).

The first phase is expected to complete by October 31. Based on the natural and topographical division in Dharavi, the consultant has divided the area in 12 segments. Around 25 teams would be deployed to carry out the survey, he added. The survey would provide us accurate details for planning and preparing policies for the holistic redevelopment of Dharavi, he added.

DM Sukhtankar, former chief secretary, Maharashtra, said the SRA proposed to form a panel comprising members of the Dharavi Bachao Aandolan, who had spearheaded the protest.

Commenting on the delay, Niranjan Hiranandani developer and one of the bidders for the project, said, The delay in the execution of the project is justifiable, as it is on account of the survey the SRA has undertaken for the entire Dharavi area. Once the survey is complete, there would be clarity in the execution of the project.