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Monday,26-September-2022

Maharashtra

Mumbai’s ugly duckling, BDD Chawl, will soar to skies in Rs 20K-crore ‘avatar’

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The ugly duckling of Mumbai’s underbelly — century-old clusters of BDD Chawls — where Mahatma Gandhi spent a night among the ‘Mehtar Samaj – (Sweepers) 84-years ago — is all set to don a new ‘avatar’ with Asia’s biggest redevelopment finally kicking off, officials said.After three decades of hiccups, delays, litigation, political upmanship and other speedbreakers, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray performed the ground-breaking ceremony last week for the mega-redevelopment project estimated to cost around Rs 20,000-crore.

The first bulldozers started razing the historic but crumbling eyesores, built (1921-1924) by the erstwhile ‘British Development Department’ (BDD), conceptualized by the then Governor of Bombay, Sir George Lloyd, for middle-class mass-housing – identical, matchbox structures, similar to those built by erstwhile Communist countries.”A total of 207 old buildings with 160-sq.feet facing chawls (tenements) a passage of upto 20-feet width, common water supply, bathing and toilet areas, spread across 93 acres in Worli, Naigaum, NM Joshi Marg and later, Sewri, shall be rebuilt,” an excited Akhil BDD Chawl Bhadekaru Hakk Sanrakshan Samiti (ABCBHSS) General Secretary Kiran Mane – who was born and spent his entire life here – told IANS.Each of the 17,000 families, mostly mill-workers, eked out a miserable existence — some cramped as many as 15-20 people per tenement in the ground-plus-3-storied buildings with 20 chawls on each floor.Over the next few years, they will move to some 32 swank towers in 500-sq.feet 2-BHK ultra-modern flats with top amenities, bringing a sea-change to their lives.Ex-Shiv Sena legislator Sunil Shinde, who spent years on the project groundwork, said it will be supervised by Maharashtra Housing & Area Development Authority (MHADA), and shall be completed in 8 years, and the first phase expected to be ready within 3 years.”It is because of the determined vision of CM Uddhav-saheb and Minister Aditya-ji Thackeray, ensuring the project took off in 20 months since they assumed office,” Shinde told IANS.To be built by Tatas, L&T and Shapoorji Pallonji for different projects, the well-planned new complexes of 40-storied and 22-floor tall towers with floors for parking, wide roads, at least 4 four schools, welfare centres, mini-hospitals, gardens, plagrounds, markets and shopping plazas.”However, we want the government to reduce the construction time, give a corpus fund of Rs.10-Lakhs, one parking for each flat and hike the area for the 300-odd commercial premises from 200 sq.feet to 300 sq. feet,” Mane said.Shinde pointed out that the scheme has been so well-conceived that each family living here, including around 1,800 police personnel, shall shift to transit quarters along with an agreement of flat allotment in the new towers – guaranteeing that all those who leave the BDD Chawls, will get a flat as per the construction plans.As they await a bright future, many old-timers now reminisce of the generations spent in their ‘chaali’ (chawl) system, considered a form of housing unique to Mumbai – where one building will be preserved for posterity.

“The rooms were tiny, but people were large-hearted. Our life was unique, lot of camaraderie punctuated with brawls, sharing all joys and sorrows, births or deaths, celebrating festivals of all religions together, whether Diwali, Eid or Christmas,” said a longtime resident Dhonduram Baikar, 85.Another local, Mangesh Sawant recalled how people hailing from different villages, would name their homes or the buildings after their native place.There were many poor folks who celebrated Ganeshotsav, Satyanarayan Pooja, or fullfledged weddings in the common passages decorated for the occasion, where even the uninvited neigbours dropped in to bless the couple!”The chawls bustled with kids running around, teens studying or quarreling, loafers loafing around, and occasionally Cupid struck several young boys and girls who ended up with marital bliss,” chuckled 85-year-old Neelam Joshi, who had a ‘love-marriage’ 55 years ago with a boy Manohar Joshi, from the next building.In 1937, there was a huge flurry of activity when the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi arrived here and spent a night with the sweepers’ community here.The Chief Architect of Indian Constitution Bharat Ratna Dr. B. R. Ambedkar was a regular visitor to BDD Chawls and had planted a ‘Peepal’ sapling which has now bloomed into a gigantic shady tree, said Mane.Months before his assassination (May 1991), the former PM and Bharat Ratna Rajiv Gandhi – then the Leader of Oppositon – was delayed for a rally in the Gandhi Maidan, but finally turned up the next morning around 3.30 a.m., but the venue was full of enthusiastic though groggy-eyed people still waiting to hear him out!”BDD Chawls gave many eminent persons to the country – the founder of Republican Party of India and ex-Governor of Andhra Pradesh and Bihar (1973-1977) Dr. R. D. Bhandare, legendary test cricketer Ramnath Parker, Ranji Trophy player Sanjay Patil, prominent Dalit activists, former Mumbai Mayor Nandu Satam (1988-199), litterateurs like Bhausaheb Adsul, Vishwasrao Bhosale, eSamtrat’ Editor Babban Kamble, et al, hailed from here,” said Shinde proudly.Mane revealed how, at Worli BDD Nos. 89 to 92, inhabitated by many Indian Railway employees, a train engine used to chug upto the buildings adjacent to the railway lines, pick up the staffers in the morning and drop them back in the evening!A popular shooting locale for Bollywood and Marathi films and even tele-serials, there are two dedicated “BDD Chawl sets” in Raigad and Thane, and the chawl culture has been immortalized in many many essays, documentaries, Marathi, Hindi and English books.

Maharashtra

India reports 4,777 fresh Covid infection, 23 deaths

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India on Sunday reported 4,777 fresh Covid infection in the last 24 hours, against 4,912 Covid cases reported on previous day, said the Union Health Ministry.

In the same period, the country has recorded 23 more Covid-related deaths, taking the national fatalities tally to 5,28,510 as per the report.

Meanwhile, the active caseload of the country presently stands at 43,994 cases, accounting for 0.10 per cent of the country’s total positive cases.

The recovery of 5,196 patients in the last 24 hours took the cumulative tally to 4,39,95,610. Consequently, India’s recovery rate stands at 98.72 per cent.

Meanwhile, India’s Daily Positivity rate has been reported to be 1.58 per cent, while the Weekly Positivity Rate in the country currently also stands at 1.63 per cent.

Also in the same period, a total of 3,02,283 tests were conducted across the country, increasing the overall tally to over 89.36 crore.

As of Sunday morning, India’s Covid-19 vaccination coverage exceeded 217.56 crore.

Over 4.09 crore adolescents have been administered with a first dose of Covid-19 jab since the beginning of vaccination drive for this age bracket.

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General

Today’s fresh covid case 106 and no death : Mumbai

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Mumbai reported 106 COVID-19 cases on Friday, which took the tally in the city to 11,49,551, a civic official said.
The death toll remained unchanged at 19,728, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation official added. The addition to the tally breached the 100-mark a day after the metropolis saw 98 cases, he pointed out. Of the 106 cases, only 15 are symptomatic, he said. The recovery count rose by 159 and reached 11,29,071, leaving the city with an active caseload of 752.

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Maharashtra

Big victory for Uddhav Thackeray faction, Bombay High Court allows Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park : Mumbai

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In a big relief to Uddhav Thackeray, the Bombay High Court has given permission for Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park on Friday. The Thackeray faction is seeing it as a big victory. Priyanka Chaturvedi said that the court has slapped the face of the hypocrites.. She is grateful to the honorable court.. Chaturvedi also said that this is still a tableau…

The Bombay High Court has rejected the petition of the Shinde faction. Now Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena will organize a traditional rally on October 5 on a large scale..

Let us tell you that earlier BMC had refused permission to both the groups to hold a rally in Shivaji Park… but Bombay High Court rejected it saying that BMC’s decision was not right. BMC in a hurry did so. did…

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