Redevelopment of Mumbai chawls to increase congestion

MUMBAI: The redevelopment of two of Mumbai’s oldest chawl clusters will result in the construction equivalent of 292 acres, which is roughly 3.5 times the area of Nariman Point. While tenders have been invited for the BDD clusters at Naigaum and N M Joshi Marg, no one knows how development will affect existing civic infrastructure as the impact assessment study is yet to be completed.

Around 7,000 tenements will be generated from the two cluster redevelopment schemes. The floor space index (FSI) allowed is 4 under the scheme and six towers ranging from 57 to 60 storeys are slated to come up.

On December 27, the state urban development department issued a notification appointing the Maharashtra Housing Area Development Authority (Mhada) as the nodal agency for the redevelopment of the N M Joshi Marg, Naigaum, Worli and Sewri Bombay Development Division (BDD) chawls.

The very next day, December 28, Mhada issued a tender notice inviting bids for the redevelopment of the N M Joshi Marg and Naigaum chawls. N M Joshi Marg is spread over 13.9 acres; as per the tender notice, the gross construction area is estimated at 5.2 lakh sq metres, or 127 acres. Naigaum is spread over 13.39 acres; its gross construction area is estimated at 6.7 lakh sq metres, or 165 acres.

Incidentally, the December 27 notification states, “No cluster or clusters shall be identified for redevelopment or implementation of Urban Renewal Scheme (URS) by the officer appointed by the planning authority without carrying out an impact assessment study regarding the impact on the city and sector-level infrastructure and amenities as well as traffic and environment of the implementation of URS on such cluster or clusters.”

A senior civic official said impact assessment would help in phasing out the project. “The phases that can be supported by the existing infrastructure can be taken up first while those that need infrastructure upgrade can be done later. Laying infrastructure in a city like Mumbai takes a lot more time than reconstruction,” said the official.

Activists said the decision to issue tenders without understanding the impact of a construction of this nature on existing infrastructure would only adversely affect citizens. The impact assessment report has been made mandatory by the Bombay high court.

BDD chawls are home to erstwhile mill workers and other low-income group families who currently live in 160 sq feet tenements. After redevelopment, they will be entitled to 500 sq feet carpet flats.

At N M Joshi Marg, the proposal is to construct 14 rehab buildings with 22 habitable floors, shops on the ground floor, and three-level basement-plus-ground-plus-one parking. The sale component comprises two buildings each for high and middle income groups, with 47 habitable floors, seven-level podium parking besides three-level basement-and-ground parking.

At Naigaum, Mhada has proposed 20 rehab buildings ranging in habitable floors from 19 to 23, commercial shops on the ground floor and basement and ground level parking.

The four sale buildings will each be 60-storey high, with six-level podium parking, besides basement-and-ground parking. A separate 20-storey building is to be constructed for shops and offices.

Mhada vice-chairman Sambhaji Zende-Patil said the BDD chawl cluster redevelopment is the largest urban renewal scheme being undertaken by the government in the city. The project cost is estimated at Rs 2,000 crore and will take seven years to complete. “We have appointed two agencies for carrying out the impact assessment study. The report is expected within a month. It will be in our hand before the actual construction,” he said.

Sources said that for the suburbs, the government ordered an impact assessment study on whether to allow 4FSI, and so it is rather strange that Mhada should hurry without awaiting the report. “The key impact of such redevelopment is on water supply and transportation. Such redevelopment results in crowding. An impact assessment study actually gives the authorities an opportunity to redesign an entire area in a more holistic manner,” said a source.

Credits ET Realty

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