No contractors come forth to bid for Rs 9,000 crore Worli BDD chawl redevelopment project

No contractors come forth to bid for Rs 9,000 crore Worli BDD chawl redevelopment project
The BDD chawls were built by the British Government in 1920 to house textile mill workers (Picture Courtesy: Subhash.T)

The redevelopment of Bombay Development Department (BDD) chawls in Worli has hit a roadblock after the project received no response from contractors.

According to a Hindustan Times report, Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) had earlier floated tenders for the redevelopment of 121 buildings, spread across a 59-acre stretch of prime land in Central Mumbai.

But despite the Rs 9,000 crore project cost, the nodal agency got zero response from contractors. The date has now been pushed to July 17.

While MHADA officials have blamed technical issues for the lack of response, locals say otherwise. Incidentally, a tender floated in April also had to be rescheduled to June due to no response.

Locals, meanwhile, claim that the lack of interest can be attributed to the opposition by residents, who have repeatedly raised concerns about the project’s transparency.

The locals reportedly have no clue about the corpus amount or have any legal agreement to fall back on, which can lead to agitation if the project is awarded without taking them into confidence first.

The BDD chawls were built by the British Government in 1920 to house textile mill workers. The chawls are spread across Worli, Lower Parel, Naigaum and Sewri areas.

Almost a century later, the chawls are in a dilapidated condition and deemed ‘unsafe for occupation’ by the BMC. The PWD, which earns less than Rs 100 per flat as rent, has also failed in their upkeep due to lack of funds.

The redevelopment of BDD chawl is one of the most ambitious projects undertaken by MHADA. It entails the creation of at least 16,000 affordable houses, apart from the ones that need to be allotted to existing tenants.

The developer is expected to built 500 sq.ft houses in high rises instead of the 160 sq.ft ones in existence today. A third of the land will be developed and sold commercially to help meet the project cost.

While the revamp of Sewri chawls, located on Mumbai Port Trust land, is awaiting a go ahead from the Central Government, the revamp of Naigaum and Lower Parel is currently underway.

The redevelopment Naigaum chawls has been allotted to L&T (42 acres at Rs 3,100 crore), while that of Lower Parel chawls has been assigned to Shapoorji Pallonji & Co (32 acres at Rs 2,900 crore).

The cost of redeveloping all chawls, except Sewri, is estimated at Rs 16,000 crore.

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