Mumbai: The much-delayed redevelopment plan of Dharavi, the Asia’s biggest slum, is likely to take off soon after the billionaire Gautam Adani’s property unit formed a joint venture (JV) with Mumbai’s slum rehabilitation authority to execute $610 million (₹5,069-cr) project.
A senior official of the Adani Group confirmed the formation of the entity, Dharavi Redevelopment Project Pvt Ltd, without furnishing much details. The redevelopment plan of Dharavi, which is home to nearly 10 lakh people, has been hanging fire for decades due to litigations and locals’ protests.
The setting up of the JV is a critical step and assumes significance as it comes at a time when Adani faces an ongoing legal challenge from a rival bidder, Dubai-based SecLink Technologies Corporation, which alleged that his bid was illegally cancelled by the Maharashtra state government in 2018. However, both the state government as well as Adani denied any irregularities in the bid selection process.
SVR Srinivas, who heads the state-run Dharavi Redevelopment Authority, had earlier told the media persons that the state will appoint the chairman of the new 80:20 Adani Properties-state government JV, while the CEO will be from Adani’s camp. The authority is waiting for the submission of the master plan for redevelopment by Adani group. The master plan will have key details including planning on infrastructure, rehabilitation and public amenities.
The Dharavi slum, about three-quarters the size of New York’s Central Park, featured in Danny Boyle’s Oscar-winning 2008 movie “Slumdog Millionaire”. The state government has approved the Adani group’s proposal to rehabilitate residents of Mumbai’s 590-acre Dharavi locality almost eight months after the conglomerate won a tender to develop India’s largest slum.
Earlier, the state’s housing department had stated that the Adani group will be the government’s partner for the Dharavi redevelopment project, which involves an investment of at least $3 billion. The government’s decision, which marked the first set of approvals, came when the state was in a state of political turmoil that saw Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar joining the Shiv Sena (Shide group) and BJP government as the state’s deputy chief minister and finance minister after breaking ranks with his uncle Sharad Pawar.
As per the understanding, the JV will have a corpus of ₹500 crore, with the Maharashtra government holding a 20% stake for an investment of ₹100 crore, and Adani Properties owning the rest of the company with an investment of ₹400 crore. The state and the Adani group had reached an agreement on the terms and conditions for the transfer of development rights certificates for the Dharavi redevelopment project after the government determines the eligible owners in the slum and the total potential built-up area for redevelopment.
“After the JV formation, the state government is expected to conduct an authentication survey to verify the identities of all the potential eligible owners who would be allotted residential flats across the 590 acres area post the proposed redevelopment of the slum,” the official said, adding that a portion of the eligible owners may be relocated to transit buildings to be constructed in the lands adjacent to the Dharavi slum in the initial phase.