Bhendi Bazaar redevelopment update

The much-awaited redevelopment of Bhendi Bazaar will take a while longer. Holding back the Rs.1,500-crore project is mandatory ownership of all properties marked for cluster redevelopment. The trust that has taken up the project on a no-profit, no-loss basis has asked the government to modify one of the cluster clauses of the Development Control Regulations (DCR) so that it can start work.
“There are 280 buildings spread over 16.5 acres, including religious structures. In all, we need to buy 249 buildings, but have purchased 212 so far, which is 85% of the requirement,” said Abdeali Bhanpurawala, secretary, Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT). “Acquiring the remaining is proving to be a hurdle. Landlords are demanding a price far in excess of the market rate, which is an unreasonable demand.”
The trust has asked the government to allow it to redevelop clusters where they have 100% ownership or reduce the ownership clause to 80% for the entire area. It has asked the government to amend DCR’s clause 33(9), give powers to Mhada to buy out the remaining landlords by giving them 50-100% more than the ready reckoner rates for their properties.
Urban development department officials say clause 33(9) of the Development Control Regulations (DCR) needs to be modified to give impetus to redevelopment of clusters like Bhendi Bazaar. “The scheme under the present policy—100% ownership of properties by a body redeveloping a cluster— has failed to take off. We have received very few proposals for cluster redevelopment and many are still on the drawing board,” a senior official said.
The Bhendi Bazaar cluster of the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT) is on the west of JJ Flyover, with Ibrahim Rehmatullah, Sardar Vallabhai Patel and Maulana Shaukat Ali roads and part of Mutton Street forming the main grid for the redevelopment. A majority of the residents belong to the Dawoodi Bohra community, whose spiritual leader Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin has taken up the project on a no-profit, no-loss basis.
Any forcible acquisition would invite legal challenge, said Janhit Manch secretary Utsal Karani. “Cluster redevelopment should be in the interest of the city and there must be an amicable solution. It would be best if redevelopment is allowed in phases where consent and ownership is 100%. This will blunt the opposition.”
There are 3,200 residential tenements and 1,200 shops in the area.
The trust, along with Mhada, has certified tenants of 175 buildings. “We have shifted 1,074 families to Anjirwadi and Gorabhdev in Mazgaon and 20% have moved out on rent in the vicinity. About 500 tenements will be shifted in the next two or three months,” said Murtuza Ali, who is in charge of obtaining consent from tenants.
Bhanpurawala said that while a few landlords are refusing to budge, those who have shifted are becoming impatient. “We are being constantly asked by these families when they will be able to return.”
Shifting of tenants is also an issue as there are not enough transit tenements. The trust has asked for an FSI of four so that it can accommodate all residential tenements. As for commercial transit, the municipal corporation granted permission last week for constructions on the trust’s land in Dongri.
At present, the SBUT has begun the demolition of empty, old and dilapidated buildings in clusters one and three. “If granted permission, we can immediately start construction in clusters one, two, three and six,” Bhanpurawala said. 

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