Mumbai: Biometric survey for BDD chawl faces opposition from tenants

Mumbai: Even as the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) is eyeing a massive housing unit from the Bombay Development Directorate (BDD) redevelopment project, the staunch opposition from tenants still continues to be a major hurdle for the project. Most of the tenants have opposed the biometric survey which is essential to prepare the list of eligible beneficiaries of the project.

The tenants association has asked the authorities to sign an agreement for rehousing all tenants even before doing the survey. By tweaking one of the clauses in the Development Control Rules, the authority would not have to necessarily sign a legal agreement, which states that they would be rehabilitated in the redeveloped structure, with the tenants.

Raju Waghmare told the Free Press Journal, “I fail to understand the need for conducting a bio-metric survey. Nearly four generations have stayed here and all the required documents have been registered with the Public Works Department (PWD), which is also the owner of BDD chawls. Apart from this, the authority is not ready to sign a legal document with us which states that the tenants will be shifted in the redeveloped structure. Instead, they said that they will sign a document that the tenants will be shifted to transit camps while redeveloping the structures.”

Waghmare alleged that the local politicians from Shiv Sena are influencing the tenants by offering bribe. “They are acting as goons and are even involved into caste-based politics. They are assuring tenants that the redeveloped structures will not have people from lower caste.”

He added that more than 90 per cent of tenants comprising of all four BDD chawls have opposed the biometric survey. On the other hand, MHADA officials said that nearly 90 per cent of the biometric survey at NM Joshi Marg have been completed. Officials said that they have received a positive response from the tenants.

The BDD redevelopment project is one of the most ambitious projects of the Fadnavis-led Maharashtra government and the entire cost of the project is Rs 20,000 crore. The project cost of redevelopment of BDD chawl at NM Joshi Marg and Naigaon is Rs 2,400 crores and 2,800 crores respectively. The project cost of BDD chawl at Worli is nearly Rs 10,000 crore.

Mired in a row

The Bombay Development Directorate (BDD) chawls were built in the 1920s by the British to create low-cost housing in Mumbai. There are 207 BDD chawls in south Mumbai spread over 92 acres comprising 54 acres in Worli, 13 acres in NM Joshi Marg, 5.73 acres Sewri and 15.93 acres in Naigaon. The redevelopment project would involve the rehabilitation of the tenants in a 500-sq ft flat in place of their existing 160-sq ft tenements. Following this, the sale component will be constructed in which 68 per cent of land will be utilised to rehabilitate residents, and only 32 per cent land will used by the developer. The developers are given a Floor Space Index of four for redeveloping the chawl.

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Free Press Journal