In 2004, a promise was made to remodel the face of certainly one of Asia’s largest slum sprawl. Fifteen years later, the promise of redevelopment continues to be the poll plank that the majority politicians in Dharavi depend on after they strategy voters.
From Dharavi constituency, whereas Congress has fielded its three-term sitting MLA Varsha Gaikwad, BJP-Shiv Sena alliance has nominated Ashish More. AIMIM has given ticket to former corporator Manoj Sansare.
Slum dwellers and small-scale merchants really feel cheated as nothing has modified since 2004 when the primary revamp of Dharavi was deliberate. Some say that now redevelopment is not even a election issue.
“Every year, when election is around the corner, the issue of redevelopment of Dharavi starts making round with some new promises. During Lok Sabha election, the delay in the redevelopment process has been discussed but the situation is still the same. We have lost hope,” mentioned Kareem Salmani, who stays close to Chamda Bazar in Dharavi.
The Dharavi Redevelopment Project (DRP) is presently entangled in authorized dispute after the state authorities delayed awarding a proper work order to the corporate that had bagged the redevelopment contract.
“When DRP was announced, Congress-NCP government was in power both at the state and the Centre. Then, BJP-Sena came to power in state and the Centre. Now, five years have passed and they have also failed to do anything substantial. Both BJP-Sena and Congress-NCP did nothing but there is no other alternative,” mentioned Raju Korde of Dharavi Redevelopment Committee, a physique that coordinates between the federal government and the locals.
“Both parties always say that Dharavi redevelopment is on their agenda. But people are so fed up with the delay that in this election, it is not even an issue,” he added.
Many small-scale merchants are not pleased with the proposed shifting of their companies from Dharavi below the redevelopment plan. “Under DRP, many commercial owners will be relocated to places like Matunga, Sion, Dadar and King’s Circle. We had met BJP and Congress leaders in the past and conveyed to them that we should not be shifted. As per the DPR, the government wants to develop sale buildings near Mahim railway line and move us to other places. This is our source of livelihood and if they shift us, then our businesses will collapse,” mentioned Zahid Khan, a member of the Dharavi Businessmen Welfare Association.
“We have been doing business since the time of our grandparents and Dharavi is in the centre of Mumbai. They should rehabilitate us in the same area,” he added.
There are garment, plastic recycling, leather-based, card paper field and waste recycling items in Dharavi. Around 1,500 such small businessmen are related to the welfare affiliation.
“Under DRP, no part of Dharavi can be developed by private developers. So, since 2004, no redevelopment has taken place. Everything is stuck since neither the DRP is moving nor private redevelopment is allowed. Many people have not repaired their houses for years in the hope that redevelopment will start soon,” mentioned Mobin Matwale, who lives in Diamond Apartment at Shahu Nagar in Dharavi.
Economic slowdown in Dharavi’s enterprise circle can also be an issue of debate.
“Demonetisation and GST has hit our business badly. Slowly but steadily, everyone is facing slowdown. Earlier, on an average, one recycler used to make a profit between Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000. But now it has even become difficult to run the business on a daily basis. There is the issue of liquidity of funds. If a small trader supplies goods to a company, he doesn’t get money on time,” mentioned Matwale.