Maharashtra gives its nod to Adani’s Dharavi project, locals fear uncertain future

Gautam Adani. [File Photo]

Mumbai: Even as the Maharashtra government has formally awarded the 259-hectare Dharavi Redevelopment project to an Adani Group firm, residents fear that poor people who depend on local businesses will suffer due to the project.

Among Asia’s largest slums, Dharavi is dotted with huts, shanties and is home to several small businesses.

“We were shocked to know that the state government has given a green signal to an Adani Group firm for the project. There are hundreds of ground-plus two-storey structures in the locality, in which one room is occupied by the house owner and the other by the tenant, and the former depends on the rent money to run his household,” Paul Raphel, president of Dharavi Nagrik Seva Sangh, said, as per PTI.

Now, if these structures are demolished as part of the project and the owners are later given just one room, what will they do, he asked.

Reacting to the state government’s decision, Dharavi resident advocate Sandip Katake alleged the project would be the world’s biggest land scam.

“Adani Group is getting 10 crore square feet development rights for Rs 5,069 crore and getting additional railway land with government’s money. The last survey in the area was conducted in 2008 and the eligibility date for structures was kept at January 1, 2000, whereas as per the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) it is 2011,” he said.

If the government really wants to redevelop Dharavi, then a fresh survey should be conducted and the last date of the survey should be the cutoff date for eligibility, he said, adding 80 percent people were dependent on local units and businesses, which need to be safeguarded.

“No family should be sent out of Dharavi in the name of redevelopment. Adani is getting six crore square feet area for sale, from which he is going to earn Rs 3,00,000 crore. Who is going to prosper in the Dharavi project? Local residents or Adani?” the lawyer claimed.

For most residents, the redevelopment has brought in a sense of uncertainty about the future in terms of livelihood as well as accommodation.

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