MUMBAI: The long-awaited redevelopment of the city’s BDD chawls finally got off the ground on Thursday. State housing board Mhada conducted a lottery to allot apartments to eligible tenants of the old, dilapidated structures in Lower Parel. Construction of the buildings is yet to begin though.
The entire project constitutes the largest resettlement undertaking in the country, given the sprawl of these old buildings in south Mumbai. This particular lottery was drawn for 272 tenants of the five-hectare BDD chawl plot at NM Joshi Marg, Lower Parel. They have been granted transit accommodation until their structures are rebuilt.
A total of 2,560 residents live in 32 chawls in this location. So far, 607 tenants out of 800 living in 10 chawls have been deemed eligible for resettlement.
Their new homes will be 500 square feet in size with individual toilets. The current size of their 1RK accommodation is 150-160 sq ft.
Residents S Nandgaonkar and one Kesarkar became the first winners of the computerised draw and were felicitated at the event. Ministers Aaditya Thackeray and Aslam Shaikh, state housing minister Jitendra Awhad, mayor Kishori Pednekar and senior Mhada officers attended the draw that was held at the housing board headquarters in Bandra (East).
Thackeray said the redevelopment marked a milestone in the history of BDD chawls that have sheltered two or three generations of each family.
He said the construction would be of high quality and would be completed in a timely manner.
Awhad expressed the hope that the bhoomipujan of the resettlement would take place within 15-20 days. He said to TOI: “The project was delayed because people had lost faith in the government. They insisted that the allotment and flat details be embedded in their agreement and now their faith has been restored because we are doing so.”
Awhad said Mhada held the distinction of being the biggest landowner in the city. “Still, land stocks are fast depleting. Given the needs of the city’s population, we are bringing new provisions whereby Mhada can engage in joint ventures with private land bankers to develop low-cost housing for the public as our predecessors envisaged. Ideally, the plan is to develop a bank of 5,000 acres in the MMR region in the next five years,” he said.
He further said the historic BDD chawls are the oldest and largest settlements in the city. As a result, their redevelopment is the largest resettlement project in the country.
This lottery was to have been conducted in March 2020 but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.