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After creating an opening in the 1984 in the field of slum development, the others naturally could follow the trail with less strain. The government also understood the need of having a separate department for such projects and a department was formulated under the name of Slum Redevelopment Department (SRD), under which Accanoor submitted four projects. Later in the year 1991, the government modified Development Control Regulation of Greater Mumbai, indicating the government’s eagerness to give a fillip to slum projects. Three years later, the government formed the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) and the proposals submitted to SRD were transferred for the reference and clearance of SRA.

Slum Rehabilitation has been an intensely challenging job, involving longer and tiresome legworks, high level of persistence and perseverance, capability to convince and acumen to manage people of different temperaments, handling of legal issues, innumerable clearances from various government bodies, etc. Accanoor Associates, yet, had no apprehension about the task, as great level of optimism had driven it to an inevitable target, Mr. Deepak Rao recalls. Today, it stands out to ask the world, why slum-dwellers can’t be rehabilitated to give them a healthy living environment and transform the face of Mumbai. In the redevelopment process, millions of people access better quality of life adding to the cleaner landmass within Mumbai.

The enormity of Mumbai’s slum pockets accounts for roughly 2500 hectares, wherein several thousands of people are left to struggle for many years in unfortunate condition. Letting the inherent character of slums, dirty structures, stingy and soggy rooms, dirtier environments wherefrom most of Mumbai’s larva emerge, remain intact, will only render a bad image for the city, city planners and for the local government. Worse, slums in the city continue to proliferate as the bottom of the economic pyramid can settle only for a shanty home in this most expensive city of India. This despicable scenario, which is of course reversible, can give only sleepless nights for those who dream to build Mumbai like Shanghai of China.

Set aside the dream, the sprawling slum, which is notoriously the largest in Asia, can make every developmental initiative in the city by its civic authorities, including their customary pre-monsoon preparation every year, as a prodigal practice. Every monsoon brings flood, monsoon related ailments and innumerable stodgy discomforts for citizens almost throughout the year, despite having solutions.

The solution lies in rehabilitation of slums which will create no financial burden on either the State government or the Municipal authority. According to Mr. Deepak Rao’s estimate, Mumbai requires more than one lakh new homes to accommodate the migrants, which is indeed a gigantic size. Rehabilitation of slums with a sound economic sense can meet the need of building homes for people at the low end of the economic strata to a great extent, he points out. In fact, each redevelopment initiative ensures better homes for the concerned people and also potential for accommodating larger number of people without any pain or strain. It only requires determination, progressive approach, builder-friendly attitude and creation of congenial atmosphere by the government and civic authorities, wherein developers are encouraged to take up the task of redevelopment in a massive scale.

Needless to say, sprouting glass edifices in the vast mill lands of downtowns, building express highways, flyovers, sea-links and metro systems will not ensure complete transformation of Mumbai into a modern city of the world. Perhaps, complete rehabilitation of slums, which is indeed an enormously noble mission, can change the profile of India’s financial capital far better than all other developmental initiatives put together. Moreover, slum rehabilitation is fundamentally a socio-economic issue, far more serious issue than any other issue the government may have on its drawing sheet.

The successful completions of all the slum rehabilitation projects by Accanoor Associates and construction of residential towers in Worli for the high end of the segment have given the group an enviable position in the highly competitive real estate market. The success has rekindled ACKNUR’s hopes. On the other side, while developing a skill in converting shanty homes into cozy livable homes for poor people in multi-storey structures, cashing in on the opportunities in slum rehabilitation schemes in Mumbai, and has also earned a reputation for itself as a builder of making modern homes for the elite class too.

With success stories in redevelopment created by builders like Accanoor Associates over the last quarter of a century, solid experience gained by them in this process and expertise at all levels of developments, slum rehabilitation has just become an ordinary issue that depends only on the willingness of the concerned counterpart. Accanoor Associates, being an indisputable pioneer in the area of slum redevelopment with a track record of implementing slum rehabilitation projects even when a policy ambiguity existed, stands committed to use its skills and expertise for converting shanties into modern homes.

It ventured into slum rehabilitation much earlier than the State government began to think it as an important issue. Possibly, sharing of its own experience by the government and local bodies also might have supported subsequent policy formation and helped them understand missing gaps that needed solutions to enhance the speed of rehabilitation.


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