One of the Worli BDD chawls
One of the Worli BDD chawls

The Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) to preserve one of the Bombay Development Directorate (BDD) chawls at Worli and later develop it as a museum, said a senior official. In Worli alone there are total 121 chawls built by the Britishers.

The official explained, "Since Worli BDD layout comprises of about 92 acres of land parcel, which is huge compared to other BDD layouts --N.M Joshi and Naigoan therefore it is possible here to preserve a chawl and develop it as a museum from tourism point of view."

Meanwhile, he asserted that developing a chawl structure into a museum will preserve the identity of BDD. It has a history. The structures were built by Britishers and was previously been used to jail Indian freedom fighters later the structure was occupied by Mill workers and other working class people. Even today the structure is used for residence.

Furthermore as an initial plan, MHADA to develop the museum under the CSR (corporate social responsibility) activity however, no official decision on museum development plan and funding has been finalised.

Interestingly, MHADA was seeking environment clearance for BDD worli project, wherein the state environment department had put obligation to develop the museum in exchange of granting green clearance, which has been accepted, said the official.

While the Akhil BDD Chawl Bhadekaru Hakk Saurakshan Samiti, Secretary Kiran Mane commented, "It has been three years now and not an inch of progress attained on ground. The focus should be mainly on redevelopment. Besides, the chawls are in dangerous state and are in no condition to be maintained. Why government wants to develop a chawl as a museum? It will only occupy the piece of land instead it should be utilised for development of housing project."

Free Press Journal