The state government's ambitious plan to redevelop the century-old British era BDD (Bombay Development Directorate) Chawls at Naigaon in South Mumbai was dealt a major blow with the appointed contractor, L&T (Larson & Toubro), announcing its withdrawal from the Rs 3,000 crore project.
A senior official from the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA), the nodal agency for carrying out redevelopment of these chawls at Naigaon, Worli and NM Joshi Marg, confirmed the development.
"The developer L&T decided to pull out of the project as no ground work had begun in the last three years because of the strong objections raised by residents and local politicians," the official said. A report evaluating the reasons which forced the developer to back out will be sent to the state chief secretary (CS) and, accordingly, further action will be initiated.
There are a total of 42 BDD Chawls in Naigaon, with nearly 3,344 tenants in all; the police families were housed in two of the chawls. As per the plan, the project was supposed to be completed in seven phases. The MHADA official informed, "160 transit homes at Century Mill were provided to police families in the two chawls and their shifting was the responsibility of the police department. But till date, no one has moved due to internal legal disputes and the project has not begun."
The then Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had performed the ground-breaking ceremony for these chawls in all three layouts -- Worli, Naigaon and NM Joshi Marg -- in April 2017. However, no work was begun on the ground despite the issuance of IOD and CC to the contractor, for want of cooperation from residents, the official claimed.
Meanwhile when contacted the L&T spokesperson on the issue, it did not comment.