From appointing a Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) to announcing several slum redevelopment projects, the Maharashtra government has taken numerous initiatives to address and rectify the issue of the increasing number of slums in the city. Here’s an account of the incentives offered by the government to the slum dwellers and the participating developers.
In a city like Mumbai, which is already facing the issue of space crunch, the ever-increasing number of slums has become a cause of concern for the government. While rapid urbanisation is one of the key reasons for the space crunch, illegal encroachments by a large number of slum dwellers is another reason for it. While this has led to an adverse impact on the urban environment, it has also restricted the sustainable development of the city. For long now, the Maharashtra government has been trying to metamorphose the horizontal slums into vertical development. The formation of the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) has been a major step in this direction.
The SRA emerged as a boon not only for the slum dwellers of the city but also for the contractors and developers. Most of the slums to be redeveloped under the SRA are situated in prime locations of the city and enjoy several benefits such as good connectivity and well-developed infrastructure in the neighbourhoods. Furthermore, the beneficiaries and the real estate developers undertaking such projects also get the benefit of Transferable Development Rights (TDR).
Keeping in mind the ever-increasing number of slums in the city, the Maharashtra government has proposed several initiates to redevelop these slums into proper housing complexes. Let us take a look at some of the major redevelopment projects underway in Mumbai:
Spread across 600 acres, Dharavi is one of Asia’s largest slums, housing 60,000 families. The State government’s plan to redevelop the slum into an integrated township has been in the pipeline since February 2004. Despite several initiatives being proposed by the successive governments to transform the slum into tall residential towers, the project is yet to pick up the pace. In addition to 12,000 commercial establishments, Dharavi currently has 59,000 dwellings spread across 104 hectares of land. Under the Dharavi redevelopment project, the government aims to provide housing units measuring 350-405 sq ft to three lakh slum dwellers depending upon the size of their tenements.
In February 2019, Dubai-based Seclink Technology Corporation (STC) bagged the tender to redevelop Dharavi into a plush township at an estimated cost of Rs 28,500 crore. The STC, which is also the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for the project, will utilise 200 acres of land for rehabilitating slum dwellers and constructing commercial units while it will construct a large garden on another 100 acres. The company will use the remaining 300 acres for constructing commercial complexes and sale buildings. Areas falling along the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) stretch would be utilised for constructing commercial establishments, whereas areas along the Sion-Mahim side would be used for rehabilitation purpose.
Bandra Slum Redevelopment Project
The Bandra Slum Redevelopment project will be a mixed-use development wherein, slums situated near the Bandra (West) railway station will be redeveloped into residential towers and commercial establishments. The slums are built on a 4.5-acre prime plot and are home to 2,000 slum dwellers. The project is estimated to cost more than Rs 5,000 crore and is another huge slum redevelopment project in Mumbai.
According to sources, talks between L&T Realty and Slum rehabilitation specialist, Omkar Realtors is already underway to jointly undertake the rehabilitation project in the 40:60 ratio. While Omkar Realtors will take care of the redevelopment part, L&T Realty will construct the saleable component of the project. If the present deal between both the realty firms works out, members of around 2,000 hutments in these slums will get free homes after redevelopment under the State government’s slum redevelopment policy. Housing experts believe that the project has the potential to change the face of Bandra (West) region.
Ramabai Nagar Slum Redevelopment Project
Spread across 151 acres of prime land in Ghatkopar (East), Ramabai Nagar constitutes around 27,000 slum clusters and is the second largest slum redevelopment project in Mumbai after Dharavi. The redevelopment project was proposed in 2005, but it could not be implemented on a full-scale since only 12 of the total slum clusters comprising 3,000 slum dwellers were ready for redevelopment. As of date, only four slum clusters have undergone redevelopment with dwellers being accommodated in a single building.
The Slum Redevelopment Authority (SRA) is now considering taking up this project under the cluster redevelopment scheme and offer a Floor Space Index (FSI) of four to the interested developers. Besides, it is also contemplating to undertake the project as a joint venture with the government and redevelop the entire Ramabai Nagar on the lines of the Dharavi redevelopment project. The SRA will soon formulate a plan to rehabilitate the eligible slum dwellers and submit it to the State’s Housing Ministry following which bids will be invited for the project.
In addition to the slum redevelopment projects, the State government has recently come up with a new policy ‘One slum, one rehabilitation apartment’ under which, only one housing unit will be offered to the eligible slum dwellers in the redevelopment project, even if they own multiple tenements in different slums of the city. While these initiatives will go a long way to make Mumbai slum-free, the government needs to take these up on priority to ensure a better standard of living for the slum dwellers.
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