What has happened to the Maharashtra government's plan to redevelop Dharavi, India's largest slum? In August 2007, it advertised in leading newspapers across 28 countries, inviting bids from developers for the makeover of the slum, located in Mumbai.
At a cost of Rs 9,300 crore, the project hoped to transform the claustrophobic slum into a 'garden township' with malls, playgrounds and educational institutions. The 57,000-odd families living at Dharavi were to be moved into pucca flats. Even then, many eyebrows were raised about the feasibility of the project. One activist claimed that there were over 90,000 families in Dharavi against the 57,000 claimed by the government.
Even so, 14 groups had bid for the project. Since then, the Congress government, which mooted the idea, has been voted back to power, the civil servant who headed the project has been transferred and Orangi (in Karachi) has overtaken Dharavi as Asia's largest slum. Last heard, the number of bidders interested in the project has come down to six, even as the project cost has ballooned to Rs 15,000 crore.