Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

What is the Dharavi Redevelopment Project?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Dharavi

Mains level: Slum rehabilitation

The Maharashtra government gave the go-ahead for fresh tenders in the Dharavi redevelopment project, almost two decades after it was first proposed.

About Dharavi

  • Dharavi, infamous as one of the world’s largest slums, is located in the heart of India’s financial capital – Mumbai.
  • A city within a city, it is one unending stretch of narrow dirty lanes, open sewers and cramped huts.
  • While the land (area of 535 acres) is owned by the government, the houses are maintained by individuals.
  • The Dharavi slum came into being in 1884. It was originally inhibited by fisherfolk when the area was still creeks, swamps.
  • It became attractive to migrant workers from South Mumbai and others when the swamp began to fill in due to natural and artificial causes.
  • The area grew as poor rural Indians migrated to urban Mumbai.
  • Today, an estimated 600,000 to 1 million people live crammed in Dharavi.

Economic significance of Dharavi

  • Dharavi stands near to India’s richest business district, the Bandra-Kurla Complex, where commercial office premiums are among the highest in the country.
  • The slum sprawl, spread over 2.8 sq.km. is home to an informal leather and pottery industry which employs over a lakh people.

What is the Dharavi Redevelopment Project all about?

  • The state had envisaged this sprawl be transformed into a cluster of high-rises with improved urban infrastructure.
  • It entailed resettling 68,000 people, including slum dwellers and those with commercial establishments.
  • The state was to provide 300-sqft houses for free to residents with proof that their slum structure was in existence before January 1, 2000.
  • The project was initially mooted in 2004, but never got off the ground due to various reasons.

When redevelopment was first proposed?

  • In 1999, the government first proposed to redevelop Dharavi.
  • Thereafter, the government of Maharashtra in the year 2003-04 decided to redevelop Dharavi as an integrated planned township.
  • An action plan for redevelopment was approved by issuing a government resolution.
  • It was decided to develop Dharavi by using land as a resource to cross-subsidie the cost of development through a sale component on the basis of the Slum Rehabilitation Scheme.
  • The government also decided to notify the whole of Dharavi as an undeveloped area and to appoint a Special Planning Authority for its development.
  • In 2011, the government cancelled all tenders and drew up a master plan.


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