Dharavi redevelopment work will start within six months, project chief VR Srinivas – India Today

By Mustafa Shaikh: The government is confident about executing Dharavi redevelopment project, a long pending urban development scheme in the heart of Mumbai, VR Srinivas, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dharavi redevelopment project, said on Wednesday. He also said that the government is trying to complete the formalities soon so that work on the ground can start in six months.
The Adani Group has emerged as the highest bidder for the 259-hectare Dharavi redevelopment project at a cost of Rs 5,069 crore bid.
"The bid is for the entire Rs 20,000 crore project and the total timeline for the project is seven years to rehabilitate the 6.5 lakh slum dwellers who are spread over 2.5 sq km area right now," Srinivas said.
Earlier, a Dubai-based company turned out to be a successful bidder in the global tender in 2019, but the tender was scrapped as railway land was not given for the project by the Centre. The railway land was important for this project to build transit houses till the project is completed.
"Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis helped to get railway land from the Centre without which this project wouldn’t have taken off. Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has announced that Mumbai should be slum free and it should start from Dharavi. Dharavi has been declared as vital public purpose project. Due to this, special benefits can be given to this project. For the first time, a scheme has been rolled out in which industries in Dharavi will get SGST reimbursement during construction for five years. This will help the businesses affected due to the project," Srinivas said.
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The work is likely to start on ground within six months. The government wants to complete rehabilitation in seven years and complete the sale process in 17 years. "I understand there are many challenges, but we will try to complete the project successfully," Srinivas added.
Speaking about the challenges in execution of the project, Srinivas said, "Dharavi is the brownest of brownfield projects. You have different communities living together, industrial establishments, slums, non-slum areas. All kinds of challenges exist. Dharavi is the world's largest urban renewal project. It took 14 years just to complete the bidding process for the project".
"In the 'Hire Purchase' scheme, one of the highlights of the project, people will be able to hire a house and later become an owner. Those who are not eligible to buy a house in Dharavi, as they settled after 2011, can also get a house under the scheme. Such people can first take a house on rental and later become an owner," Srinivas said.
"We will try to give 30 per cent more than what is there in the current scheme to all the eligible people. For non-slums, there will be different schemes. People who settled in Dharavi between 2000 and 2011 will be given houses at the cost of construction. We won't refuse houses to those who settled after 2011, but will give them PAP outside Dharavi. We will try to settle them near Dharavi," Srinivas explained.
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"The blueprint will have social infrastructure for Dharavi like hospitals and playgrounds, along with physical infrastructure, roads, sewage etc. We are not making only houses. Regarding the Adani Group, we have done technical eligibility after which tenders were invited. Out of a total cost of Rs 20,000 crore, the government will be investing Rs 100 crores rest the developer will have to raise from the market," the development project CEO said.
He added that the government will be partners in the project till the end. Recently, state support agreement was signed between the state government and Dharavi. Government officials will work as directors and help the people of Dharavi. It will not be a project where the government takes back seat after a developer walks in.

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