Dharavi protest: Did not issue tender for redevelopment as CM, says Uddhav Thackeray

Shiv Sena (UBT) chief alleges TDR irregularities exceeding Rs 100 crore in the Adani-led Dharavi project and calls it the "biggest scam"

Uddhav Thackeray says his government fell by "treachery", because he was not pro-builder (photo: National Herald archives)
Uddhav Thackeray says his government fell by "treachery", because he was not pro-builder (photo: National Herald archives)


Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday said he wasn't anti-development, and dared the ruling BJP to show one pro-builder decision taken during the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) regime that he headed.

Addressing a well-attended protest against the Dharavi redevelopment project being helmed by the Adani Group, Thackeray also refuted allegations by the BJP that the tender for it was issued during his tenure as chief minister. "The allegation is false. Show me one such GR," he said.

Thackeray said his government fell due to "treachery", because he was not pro-builder. "Now one can understand who financed the toppling of my government. With the Shiv Sena around, the BJP could not help its friends, so my party was broken and its symbol was stolen," Thackeray claimed, without taking names.

Dharavi fought the Covid pandemic and will not surrender before any builder, Thackeray said. He alleged the redevelopment project involves TDR irregularities worth more than Rs 100 crore, which is the "biggest scam in the world".

"If we did not differentiate between beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries while fighting Covid in Dharavi, how can this condition be applied when it comes to redevelopment?" he asked.

Dharavi is among the densest urban sprawls in the world, and received praise for the way the people and civic authorities of the area tackled Covid-19 and brought the pandemic in control.

Addressing the gathering, Thackeray said, "You stole my party symbol but how can you take away the trust and support I enjoy among people?" He added that the people of Dharavi should get 500 square feet homes and also be given facilities to carry on business at the existing spots.

"Police personnel, conservancy workers, mill workers should also get homes in Dharavi (post redevelopment)," Thackeray said. There must also be a financial centre in the area, he said, adding that the redevelopment of the area should be carried out by the government.

Incidentally, Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar on Friday said the tender as well as TDR details of the project were finalised by the Thackeray government, which was in power between November 2019 and June 2022.

Shelar had also asked why the MVA government did not stipulate that residents should get 500 square feet homes post redevelopment.

Mumbai Congress chief Varsha Gaikwad, who is also an MLA from Dharavi, attended the protest march that took place between Kalangar and Bandra Kurla Complex, where the Adani Group has an office.

Gaikwad said residents must not be relocated in the name of Dharavi redevelopment. "We will not allow Dharavi to become an extension of BKC. Five-star hotels will come up and our small-scale industries that benefit the entire nation will be left homeless. This we will not allow," she asserted.

"If questions are raised about malpractices and irregularities in the Dharavi project, then we are dubbed anti-nationals. But we are raising these issues to safeguard the rights of the people. It just shows how the many machineries are in place to safeguard Adani," she claimed.

Gaikwad said they were not against development, but no one wants development that brings locals to the brink of destruction.

The morcha, which started from Dharavi's T-junction and went up to the SEBI headquarters in BKC, was attended by workers of the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Aam Aadmi Party, CPI, CPI (M), RPI, SheKaPa, and Bhim Army, as well as members of the Dharavi Businessmen Welfare Association.

In a release issued during the day, the Adani Group said the project for the redevelopment of Dharavi was awarded to it through a fair, open, and internationally competitive bidding process, with tender conditions being finalised when the MVA government was in power. "It is unfortunate a concerted effort is being made to disseminate misinformation about certain aspects of the project," the release said.

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