Slum Bombay: Dharavi, Sharad Mahajan
Director: Ralli Jacob, Rafeeq Ellias, P.K. Das; Cinematographer: Rafeeq Ellias
Duration: 00:22:11; Aspect Ratio: 1.366:1; Hue: 43.530; Saturation: 0.194; Lightness: 0.202; Volume: 0.133; Cuts per Minute: 1.352; Words per Minute: 165.563
- Dharavi interview with officials of the rehabilitation project:
- Architect appointed by PMGP (Prime Minister's Grant Programme)
- Project Director
- Project Official
- Interview with Sharad Mahajan (Architect, Markendeya Society, appointed by SPARC)
In 1985, the same year that the World Bank sponsored a Slum Upgrading Programme, the Prime Minister of India passed a grant of Rs. 1 Billion for housing projects only in India, forming the PMGP (Prime Minister’s Grant Project). The grant was focused mainly on upgrading the Dharavi slums. Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) was declared as Special Planning Authority (SPA) for Dharavi.
The NGO SPARC had initiated redevelopment of the Markendeya Slum (under the PMGP) and had invested in the project by providing collateral for the loan required for the project.
Q: ...whole Dharavi therefore, subsequently.
X2: I'll tell you... in Dharavi slum is so thickly populated that there are no roads here. On the roads about 9,000 hutment dwellers are staying. Even if we increase FSI in the present existing plots there, it will be possible to accommodate those people there only. We'll not be bringing people from outside at all. Those 9,000 people will not be shifted out of Dharavi - those people will have to be shifted somewhere in the surplus, (?) will be available here. So there's no question of outside population or many more people coming in Dharavi. I think that overall density may not increase at all.
Rajendra Prasad Nagar, Dharavi
Q: Is there a rule stipulated to say that if a society has surplus area it must sell only to people living in Dharavi?
X2: We are trying to...
Q: They're free to sell to anybody... in the market?
X2: We are trying to... Ya right what you say is correct. But we are trying to locate those people who are on the roads in those surplus tenements first on a priority basis.
X2: Then afterwards whatever tenements are there, as Mr. (?) said in the morning there - we are constructing now tenements which are more than 180 sq ft, and we'll be selling those and we'll bring people from outside then. But that would be an isolated place in one or two pockets. Otherwise in the pockets even it is not possible to use 2.5 FSI, its (?). Its possible to use sometimes 1.8, 1.9 and 2.0 also. Then that doesn't permit so many people to come from outside.
Q: But isn't it also coming... as you know those people are already on the periphery of the slum...
Q: they are going to be accommodated on the additional FSI. I'm sure you'll agree that if affordability becomes the main factor they won't be able to accommodate.
X2: That is what I said - there is some area in the same pocket, not at all the places, not at all the buildings.
X2: As you said while we were coming from office there you saw an open plot there, we're developing some new buildings there. In that big plot we're intending to have some pocket - a small pocket where some big tenements can be constructed and surplus amounts can be raised.
Q: Again, that is one side. Then you'll be re-accommodating those people who are already on the periphery. But the extra FSI utilised if the affordability won't be a criteria - you will have to accommodate other people?
X2: Some people, there may be some people....
Q: Even Dharavi some people are not able to buy even with additional FSI...
X2: That is what I'm saying. Even in Dharavi where people are there in the same pocket also - few people. Now you have societies which are having the people who are able to afford the house now, afford the down payment (?). Even then as Mr. (?) put it there are some people who may not be able to... who are still there, even be able to afford the houses there. So those people cannot even get houses in these buildings also. Because minimum 5,000 rupees payment also....
Q: So what happens to them?
X2: For them those surplus tenements which we are constructing now, we are trying to bring down the price further, in the new schemes.
Q: As a policy I'm sure that...
X2: Well... just put off that.
Q: Let's carry on.
Q2: They will edit it.
Q: No, that we'll be editing. It won't go as is. Because ultimately it will be only few minutes but we've recorded for half an hour.
Q2: ...ask a question...
Q: Now I'm asking you as the Director of this project, we have at the one hand a problem about this issue of accommodating the peripheral slum dwellers into the new development ...
Q: ...happen now, I mean how will you prevent that? Is there any rule to prevent that this lapse doesn't take place? That means the people who are living in the slums, for their benefit this PMG loan and the buildings are constructed. But by the increased FSI an unfortunate situation, the very people for whom this is made are unable to afford. But somebody else will come in. People are staying in slums again. Is there any provision where the law can, or any rules of yours that makes this not possible?
X1 (Director): Architect would say.
X3 (architect): Would be to accommodate. It would not be... [[cut]] ... will not be in a position to give.
Q: You are architect employed by the department?
X3 (architect): PMGP.
Q: ...so I think...
X2: Sponsored by PMGP- I mean sponsored by hutment dwellers.
Q: Okay, if you feel you're more comfortable...
X2: Ya. Its better that he...
X3 (architect): Can I start?
Q: Ya, please.
X3 (architect): While it is an attempt on the part of PMGP, to accommodate as many people from Dharavi only as possible. But, should additional areas be required to go outside in order to get the price they would go for commercial activity, wherein exactly the population would not increase.
X3 (architect): These would be sort of service areas, facilities that are lacking in this area, so both purposes would be solved.The population of Dharavi would not increase and subsidies that are required would come in a better way and at higher rate. Because commerical premises always demand little higher price.
Q: As director do you agree with this statement or do you think it is not... (?)policy ?
X1 (director): Actually PMGP's policy is - while we are reconstructing tenement in Dharavi area as I said initially, we give say 5,400 by way of subsidy. Now this cross subsidy we get only by sale of tenements. That is as the architect rightly said that commercial tenement would fetch bigger price. So that's the only answer you see, by which less burden is put on the hutment dwellers.
Q: Queation - PMGP is part of MHADA organisation
X1 (director): Yes
Q: And MHADA through its other organisations... [[cut]] also considering sites and services.
Q: Or ground plus one structures whose basic philosophy would be maintenance criteria and management criteria after they were occupied.
X2: See there's a difference between sites and services program of World Bank project cell and anywhere else which is being done by MHADA and this program by PMGP. PMGP is trying to redevelop the area by putting those people back there. In case of this sites and services program, vast lands are developed. People are not only... no... people are staying there. So after bringing the people from that side from outside, the area is being developed. In the case of here, in case especially Dharavi.
X2: Dharavi is thickly populated slum and you want to put the people right here only. Sites and services program cannot work here, because if you use ground plus two or ground plus one tenements, all these people cannot get accommodated also here.
Q: ...on the one hand you're saying that surplus area is being created.
Q: For selling. For affordability.
Q: On the other hand you're saying that it would not be possible. Have you worked out a design exercise?
X2: Well its not...
Q: If you say that its not possible.
X2: Its not worked out in detail. But the population which is there - about 50,000 families are staying here - and the total area which is available here, I don't think ground plus 2 or ground plus 1 structures are possible here (?). Well now...
Q: I have one more design and planning question... [[cut]] and not within the larger context of the Dharavi land that is available. Thereby you have differences in densities within Dharavi which are existing. And in the new reconstruction programs these same variations or differences would continue to remain. How does that contribute to a healthy and balanced development of the entire Dharavi ultimately?
X3 (architect): (in Marathi) Tell them about the policy.
Q: No, its not a question o PMGP policy.
X3 (architect): No, this local...
X2: See, development of this society, or development of this redevelopment scheme of this society is not possible at all the places at one time. Because as you said it - affordability. Even the people are below income of 500 rupees per month also. They will never join the society. Even if I make a plan there, those societies will never... immediately... in the near future cannot come up even for re-construction by this redevelopment by building form(?). So some pockets are bound to remain there. And that is why to begin with its the first program that PMGP launched there. You can say... its the pilot program. We wanted to start with something here.
X2: And we started from... even in initial stage PMGP was not having intention of doing reconstruction for all these buildings there. They wanted to only remove the people from the roads and put them in a better environment there. And take one or two samples, pilot projects here and tell the people that with the help of HUDCO loans or financial institution loans, they themselves can arrange the money and (?) with the help of the architect there. That was the main idea here and that is how here in this scheme also architects are appointed by the cooperative society of hutment dwellers. They prepare the plan. We simply... finally we simply monitor them - in the sense that whatever the work is going on and finances, if they are falling short any time - we only do that. Otherwise PMGP is not a builder here.
X2: PMGP doesn't want to remain as the builder here .This is the position that PMGP is telling about... And as you said, in the case of 90 feet road, the overall project is considered there. Along the 90 feet road we had planned whole 90 feet road all the buildings should come up. As you said it may not be for whole Dharavi. As far as 90 feet road is concerned we've got all the complete plan prepared. All the buildings will be there along the 90 feet road there.
X2: But there also we're facing difficulties because even people, some people don't cooperate. Then we get a small part of the land which is available. So we must do something there, so naturally we are... even present DC rule framework... but it cannot work there.
Q: PMGP is in touch with HUDCO for financing?
Q: While even making this film which has been financed also by HUDCO. HUDCO has very strongly advocated, including the chairman S.P. Sharma and their chief architect Mr. Joglekar, they've very strongly advocated - they're trying to enforce on all their financial bodies - I mean who they're financing - the concept of low rise, the concept of ground plus one... [[cut]] war with the merely financial body closing their eyes to design criteria.
X2: No its not a financial body only. Because all the plans, even layout plans, building plans are seen by a committee of HUDCO officers. That means architects are there - they do raise some objections. But they are privy(?) to the site here. They have seen the thickly populated slum. What best can be done - that was also accepted by them. And certain concessions they definitely have given to us in these cases of Dharavi.
Q: ... your original plan?
X2: Well compared to difficulties which are now faced by us in Dharavi area, I think we are definitely quite on schedule. Plus people in the area sometimes do not cooperate, sometimes some people make litigation cases also. Its not possible to simply remove them from there. They may not be having actual photo passes also. But they may be pretending that they are staying for 5 years, but they have to prove it by some records, and because of that there are some time lags there. And I think otherwise also, for the given difficulties PMGP is producing very well.
X2: 20 crores. That means 18 crores were for BMC, for improvement of infrastructural services and 2 crores were given for deepening that Mithi river there. In the end 17 crores only were available for Dharavi project. And from that we had intention of doing mainly relocation (?). For carrying out those infrastructural services efficiently and properly we wanted to shift those people from the roads and put them in proper developed area. There is a... 2 schemes are developed - a transit camp as well as the one you saw while coming here. Main idea was not to do reconstruction for all the societies here.
Q: Basically you have (?) 100 crores the project? [[cut]] No... at the moment that money is definitely becoming ... devalued - in the normal sense, I'm not talking in the foreign (?) ... will it go back to the people ... as builders already raising the price - are you also doing that or what is happening?
X2: So we've taken the scheme as a whole there. We are doing work outside Dharavi also, similar type of slum upgradation schemes, redevelopment scheme, relocation scheme - all those schemes are being carried out. There in some plots it is possible for us to have composite planning, ie some plots reserved for HIG, MIG cooperative societies - for raising subsidies for the people who are on other side, that means on the back side there. Or in the front side there. And those people are - those economically weaker class people for whom we are giving 180 sq ft area. But we are trying to give them houses at fixed price - lesser price, by getting subsidy by way of sale of those plots for the cooperative society with HIG and MIG people there.
X2: So overall picture if you take, we're able to raise more money in suburbs because little more land is available with us. And if you take overall project here, I think... whole project can go on for further 5 years by taking further few schemes in Dharavi, few schemes outside Dharavi also.
X2: As Dharavi project... now many more people are coming to PMGP and we are trying to accommodate them in whatever fashion we are able to... by giving them less amenities in house. They want to have the house there, 180 sq ft area. They are ready to forego this kitchen platform, they are ready to forego loft there. They want to have a good house now, after seeing the houses that have come up here. So we are trying to accommodate them by reducing the prices by reducing some amenities there. Inflation and some reduction... inflation is taken into account by reducing some amenities there inside. But people, you can find about 10,000 families have come forward to us saying - we'll think about scheme, we'll make up some other way the finance which we are supposed to make available. And...
X2: So PMGP doesn't have.
Q: Contractors are appointed by... only through department of....
X2: (?) with architect, not with the... (?) do not know much about...
Q: But the people who are paying the money are not consulted?
X2: As far as fixing up an ENC, whether that agency is proper or not, we have got government regulations. If we follow... absolutely same government regulations they have for categorisation A,B,C,D whatever criteria is there. We do not recognise anybody outside those government contractors.
Q: So during the construction or after the building is already constructed, have you found that people reacting to the material used, the construction quality, any problems?
X2: In Dharavi only last 2.5 months back people have shifted there. So far we did not get any complaints of that sort there. I do not know... I am very much sure that work done by us is up to particular standard. I do not find complaints.
Q: We are asking this question because in Bombay we already heard about... Bombay housing the construction being...
X2: Well I feel in Dharavi you may not get that type of situation at all.
Q: Keeping in mind these slum concessions, what do you have to
Q: ... keeping in mind these slum concessions, what do you have to say about that?
X1 (director): I'll say.... In Dharavi we are the special funding...
X2: I'll say that
X1 (director): And it doesn't go to BMC...
X2: Plans are coming through the BMC
X1 (director): We only coordinate. What about this special planning authority?
X2: We are considering... actually DC rules [...] we have to finally decide what relaxation can be given there.
X1 (director): For only making relaxation we go to them.
X2: Hmm (yes). So there is only...
X3 (architect): We give relaxations that are required by them while approving.
X1 (director): But after all we are the special planning authority.
X3 (architect): Because we don't have infrastructure we have said municipality would approve the plan. Wherever municipality (?) doesn't conform to any of the regulations then PMGP raises it and decides, directly informs that these concessions are given in this case. Then they approve it. We... coordinate approvals also.
X2: As far as Dharavi area is concerned PMGP, MHADA, through MHADA only is appointed as a Special Planning Authority. And here we don't have that much infrastructure. In a sense as BMC has got so many (?) requirements, and it goes through so many channels, we don't have... we have just one architect and few people there. So it was decided that PMGP will act as a coordinating body. Whatever the objections which are raised by BMC as far as open spaces are concerned, reservations are concerned, they will be complied by PMGP. And if any modifications are there, we're not to go to BMC or government, we are authorised to make certain modifications in our plans by ourselves only. And we have given some concessions here.
X2: As against 15 ft open space in some places we have allowed 10 ft open space also. One 5 ft open space also, looking at conditions. Those conditions or those concessions are accepted by municipal corporation. I don't think there is any problem in getting the plans approved from BMC.
Q: ... your private involvement as enterprises, into he housing problems?
X1 (director): Well at present we have been allowing cooperative societies and some institutions, private institutions, social institutions like we have one cooperative society named Markendeya Cooperative society who have been allowed, who have been given NOC for developing that much area. And they have formed cooperative society. Funds are being raised, and whatever necessary help they require has been provided by PMGP.
X1 (director): This is for the government to decide.
Markendeya Society, Dharavi
Interview of Sharad Mahajan (architect)
SM: I'm an architect, Sharad Mahajan. we're working for this society, Markendeya society for last more than 3 years. And as you see here, it is still at the plinth level.
SM: Now the problems we are facing is that we started with a different type of concept. We did not get in as an architect like other architects have come with an appointment from the society or PMGP. We got involved through an organisation called SPARC who were organising them and at certain stage we got introduced.
SM: The idea of starting the plan was that we wanted to go for low dens... high density low rise housing, and also wanted people's participation. I think sticking to these two points delayed the project considerably.
SM: In a sense that when we divide the plan of a low rise high density housing, we did not get the necessary cooperation from the authorities. And the approving of the plan was delayed considerably. So it took almost 2 years for us to get the plan approved.
SM: And after the plan approved when we started the work, again we got stop work notice from BMC. And we had to increase the density more, and we had to go for high rise building as you're seeing it here. So ultimately we accepted because the work was getting stopped. People were also getting angry. So we started with piling and... then the next problem came.
SM: Next problem was getting the funds. As you've seen that HUDCO and other financial institutions, when you approach them at higher level they are extremely cooperative, extremely supportive, but when it comes to actually delivering the goods... getting the loan from HUDCO has been so painful activity, that even after a period of more than two years the case is pending with HUDCO, not a single rupee has come so far to the account of the society. This is the reality. Evey time you ask them for something they will say that it is pending for this reason, that reason, file is given to Bombay, it is given to Delhi - it shuttles so many times. But as of today not a single money has come.
SM: So with all these problems I feel that PMGP is... has been a good opportunity, both for bureaucrats as well as for financing institution. But to a great extent it is a lost opportunity because they should have taken little different approach right from the beginning. And the sanctioning instead of giving it to BMC, PMGP themselves could have come up with competitions among the architects, or among the students and seen to it that a suitable plan is evolved and got sanctions initially. So the took off point could have been much nearer.
SM: And financing institutions also should have been more liberal even at the bottom level. Now what has happened - what is getting implemented is strictly a governmental housing with government financing. The money comes from PMGP, they get it from HUDCO, the contract is awarded by PMGP. The people's participation is not there at all. This is the reality.
SM: And when somebody takes a little different approach and tries for that, there are so many hurdles that people really get bogged down and... we had even come to the stage where some of the members would even come to beat us up, because we tried to take a different action. And the work got delayed for such a long time. Because ultimately people want houses and they see that whatever it may be, even if it is a government housing, it is standing there.