The complex, which has around 3,000 families, went in for redevelopment in 2007, and the law requires each building to have its own STP so every redeveloped building now treats its own sewage and recycles it. In 2015-16, when the new Development Control Regulations were being drafted, the Maharashtra Housing Area Development Authority (Mhada) asked for the STP plot to be converted into a residential zone. The BMC and state urban development department, last month, approved the change in reservation of the plot.
A Mhada official said the STP had been defunct for a long time. “We shall now be able to use the plot to construct more affordable housing,” he added.
Sudhir Wakure, department head of S D Corporation that has undertaken the redevelopment of the 165 buildings in the 52 acre layout, said this was the first time that such large integrated redevelopment is being carried out. Around 1,965 flats have already been constructed and 1,750 residents rehabilitated so far, he said.
Wakure said 80% of the treated sewage will be recycled and reused by residents, while 20% will be discharged into the BMC’s sewage network. “The layout’s drainage system is being connected to the new sewage disposal network that is being laid across the suburbs.”
Environmentalist Debi Goenka, however, pointed out that since it is a large layout, the government should have insisted on a single STP, rather than one for every building. “Residents often do not maintain these plants and are averse to use recycled water. The plot could have been used for secondary and tertiary treatment of sewage water,” he said. Goenka said if all redeveloped and new buildings in Mumbai are to have their own STPs, then the BMC must do away with its plan to set up large STPs in mangroves and wetlands. “One such STP is coming up amongst the lush Malad mangroves,” he added.