With land in short supply; redevelopment is the only option for Mumbai to grow. But what happens when redevelopment projects go wrong?
Redevelopment Projects Turn Deathtraps
In the middle of the bustling market area of Dadar, stand the under-construction Chapra building. The walls are not completely done, the stairways are unfinished and the building itself is a deathtrap at night. Yet, over 100 people actually call this place home, risking their life and limb every day. Not by choice, but because they have no other option.
“Our building went for redevelopment in June 2009 and we used to receive monthly rent. But after March 2012, the work stalled and the developer stopped giving us rent as well. This has forced us to come and stay in this dangerous under-construction building.” laments Madhuri Salunkhe, a resident of the Chapra Building.
Many of the residents here find it difficult to get jobs and even official documents as they do not have a proper residential address to show. “My passport expired a few months ago. When I applied for the new passport, the authorities rejected my application citing that I have no permanent address. This is because my building is under construction.” claims Amit Chavan, another resident of the Chapra Building.
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Developers Blame Government For Delays
There are 14 such buildings in Dadar area and over 1,200 families find themselves in the same situation. But as tough as things are for these residents, the developers here have turned a blind eye. Many of them are local developers who have simply stopped work citing a lack of funds. Others blame the delay on the government and changes in rules and regulations.
“The change in the development control rules and then the Court ruling in a different case forced us to change building plans. Later we were asked to take NOC because of the proposed Metro line. MMRDA took a lot of time to decide the alignment of Metro Line. Because of this confusion on Metro line 3, we were again asked to change our plans” said Richa Realtors – one of the builders involved in Dadar project – in an email statement to NDTV.
Fed up with excuses, over 500 residents gathered at Dadar last week to vent their anger before Ravindra Waikar, the state’s housing minister. He promised to take action to resolve the problem and said “I have raised this issue with the officials of MHADA. We will discuss about this issue and look into the problems of the builders as well as the residents and take action accordingly.”
It is important that the government acts on this issue and quickly. We have already seen 2 cases this year where dilapidated buildings have collapsed, further highlighting why redevelopment is essential. But if the process gets delayed like in Dadar, fewer people will be ready to give up their homes.
Reporter: Ashwini Priolker, NDTV
Web Editor: Nikhil Narayan Sivadas, NDTV