Centre, state at loggerheads over Sewri chawl redevelopment

The Sewri Bombay Development Directorate (BDD) Chawl redevelopment project is yet to pick up pace for the last several years despite efforts by the residents and local politicians due to the dispute between the Centre and state governments over title of the land.

The state cannot undertake redevelopment like other BDD chawls located at Naigoan, NM Joshi and Worli, as the Sewri BDD chawl land is owned by Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT), which come under the Centre.

Mansingh Rane, chairman of Sewri BDD Chawl Punarvikas Samiti (redevelopment committee) said, "We have written several letters to the Centre and state governments seeking action related to the redevelopment of our old dilapidated buildings. We have not received any positive response so far. The state government has also written several letters to Centre but to no avail."

At Sewri BDD, there are a total 12 chawls of ground plus three storey each and total 960 families reside in them. Each house is of 150 sq ft with common toilet facility on each floor. These building are more than 100 years old. Water leakage from roof during monsoon and other difficulties are common issues. Rane said, "Everyone wants new house. However, due to land titleship impediment, the redevelopment plan is stuck. Unlike other BDD chawl redevelopment projects which are stuck due to lack of support from residents, here at Sewri it is just the opposite. Everyone is desperately waiting for redevelopment to take place."

Recently, a meeting was conducted with residents along with Member of Parliament (MP) Arvind Sawant of the Shiv Sena and other politicians. The Sena leaders assured the tenants of Sewri BDD chawl that if the Centre does not allow redevelopment project then they will stage a protest seeking speedy solution of the problem.

The work of the Metro 3 car depot shifted to Kanjurmarg from Aarey has been opposed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) claiming that it will delay the ongoing metro work. The Bombay High Court (HC) on Wednesday had put a stay on metro depot work, adding fuel to the existing controversy between both saffron parties. Moreover, the Sewri BDD chawl redevelopment is another such issue, which has brought the state and centre at loggerheads yet again.

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