Tin roofs, unplastered walls, cramped rooms, streets so narrow that people can barely pass each other — Asia’s largest slum Dharavi has been waiting for a change for decades. The change is now at hand. In the largest urban development plan in the world, the Adani Group announced yesterday that each eligible resident of the slum will get a 350-square foot house.
The size is bigger than the proposed size of 269 square feet. This is the largest carpet area offered by any developer for this project so far.
Over 10 lakh people live in more than 60,000 shanties in Dharavi. Families with five or six members spend their lives in a 6X8 rooms. Unorganised industries do an annual business of about Rs 10,000 crore.
Floors are built haphazardly, factories are set up on top of homes, as people from all parts of India live together cheek-by-jowl on the sides of filthy lanes. Clean drinking water and toilets top of the long list of problems.
“See how we live. When we sleep, my feet rest against the wall. Somehow we are living. A new house is our dream,” said one of the residents of Dharavi.
Shaikh Ansari Sahab’s life has been spent in a 6×8 room, which he shares with five members of his family. He wants to see the next generation in a new, bigger house. A 350-square feet house a dream for him and many others.
For the home-makers of Dharavi, a new house is an emotional issue. Their children, they say, need clean surroundings and open space.
The Dharavi redevelopment plan is 20 years old, but it had never taken off.
On November 29, 2022, the Adani Group won the bid for the slum rehabilitation project. The 259-hectare area will be redeveloped in phases over seven years.
Under the plan, people living in Dharavi since January 1, 2000, will 17 per cent larger, permanent houses at no cost.
Schools, community halls, hospitals and daycare centers for children will also be built.
Seven lakh people who live in the upper floors of Dharavi houses and do not qualify for permanent housing, will get houses on rent under the PM Awas Yojana within a 10-km radius.
Industrial units will be built over more space and tax benefits for five years as part of the redevelopment project.
“This will be the most challenging project. No one can handle redevelopment projects of this level better than Adani Group. This will set an example in view of the challenges of slum rehabilitation across the world,” said real estate expert Vishal Bhargava.
(Disclaimer: New Delhi Television is a subsidiary of AMG Media Networks Limited, an Adani Group Company.)