Dharavi: developing Asias largest slum Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Problem Statement

The major problem faced by Dharavi redevelopment project was the uncertain future political condition of the country because the elections were ahead and the developers of the project were uncertain whether the existing congress party would remain in the government or the opposition Shiv Sena party would win the elections. They were worried whether the newly appointed government would also provide the same level of support for the project or it would stop the redevelopment project for their own political benefits.

Besides that main problem, there were also a number of issues that can adversely affect the success of this project because the developers of the project are unable to address the business needs of these people, although, they had revised the plan and provided certain extra spaces to the households for executing their business activities, but it is still very difficult for them to fulfill the needs of the entire population. Most of the industries in Dharavi were ecologically polluted; therefore, it would also pose a number of problematic issues to the developers involved in this project because the residents of these areas and the owners of such industries have a high political connection with the major political parties of the country. Another problem was associated with the long duration of the projects because the slum redevelopment program would be completed in 5 to 7 year period, which was the major threat to the success of the project because in a country like India there were a lot of uncertainties regarding the future currency fluctuations, economic crisis and the future political crisis.

Situation Analysis

In 2004, the government of Maharashtra had designed a redevelopment plan for the Dharavi slum and decided to place it as a model for the redevelopment of the other slums of the country and also develop it as a model for the other developing countries of the world. The DRP would be executed by the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) and would be financed by the collaborative actions of the government bodies with certain private enterprises. The major purpose of this project was to develop the slums of Mumbai into a highly modernized commercial and residential enclave. Prior to the proposed plan a number of other redevelopment programs were introduced previously, but none of them was succeeded, therefore, Mukesh Metha, who was an architect by profession had established his office in the Dharavi in 1997. He had worked in the USA before his returning back to India in 1990, therefore, had a huge experience in the development and designing a high end housing scheme. According to this plan, initially it was decided that the household, who had been living in Dharavi since 1995 would be eligible to get free houses of an area of 250 square feet, but due to the increasing competition from the residents of Dharavi, the plan was revised by the developers and the new date for the assessment of the eligibility of the households for free houses were changed to 2000 and the area was increased to 300 square feet with an option to buy more area against the construction price. Beside these relaxations the government had also provided a number of other relaxations related to the project for the convenience of the stakeholders and to reduce the expected resistance from them, i.e. initially it was decided that no building should exceed the 7 floors height, but later on it was revised to 13 floors, similarly the developers had also provided a very attractive solution to the businesses activities of the residents of Dharavi, but even then, it was unfortunately facing a number of issues in course of its execution.


On the basis of the above analysis and critical evaluation of the prevailing problems of the DRP, it has been recommended that Dharavi development program should be given to an independent committee, which would be responsible to report the executive of the state directly. The current government should develop an independent committee from all sorts of the political and bureaucratic influences, which will oversee and execute the project in collaboration with the private sector enterprises. For the successful execution of the project the committee should be consisted upon members from the private sector organizations because they will be the only competent and unbiased people who can complete the project without taking the influence of the government..........................

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