MUMBAI: India’s largest ever urban renewal project, the Bhendi Bazaar Redevelopment Project in South Mumbai, has completed the first phase of the total development that involves over 20,000 people across 250 dilapidated buildings.

In the first phase, the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust, which has undertaken the project on non-profit basis, has completed two high-rise super-structures with over 610 residences and 128 commercial outlets that have been rehabilitated in the last few months post lifting of the lockdown by the state government.

This is one of the first large redevelopment projects being executed under the state government’s cluster redevelopment policy announced in 2009.

“Residents had started to shift to the new premises a few months ago. However, the shifting process was put on hold given the announcement of lockdown following the Covid19 outbreak and was resumed once the regulations were relaxed,” said spokesperson of the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust.

The construction of both–36 storey and 41 storey– towers had started in 2016 and has been completed in 45 months.

“As per our aim to complete the entire project simultaneously and bring the people of Bhendi Bazaar back to their new homes and shops at the earliest. Work on other sectors is also progressing well. We plan to complete the entire next phase of the project by 2025,” he said.

The project will help decongest major parts of south Mumbai with wider roads and better infrastructure around Mohammed Ali Road, Pydhonie and Nagpada that are characterized by narrow lanes and high traffic during most parts of the day.

More than 80% of the buildings are old, worn-out and have been declared dilapidated unfit for living by the Maharashtra state housing body, MHADA. Some of the buildings and chawls are as old as 150 years that usually witness accidents during the monsoon.

“Being India’s largest cluster redevelopment project till date, the project offers hopes of better life for millions living in awful conditions, and provides a blueprint for other future urban renewal projects across the country,” said Qutub Mandviwala, master planner and architect of the project.

The redevelopment comprises 16.5 acres of land with more than 250 decrepit buildings, 3,200 families and 1,250 shops, all of which are incorporated into a sustainable development with 12 new buildings, wide roads, modern infrastructure, more open spaces and highly visible commercial areas.

Over 90% of the residents had been living as tenants for decades in old Bhendi Bazaar with no ownership rights and with the completion of the first phase, these 610 tenants are now given flats on ownership.



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