The finance ministry has denied that Life Insurance Corporation of India has appointed any consultant to redevelop the 10 chawls owned by the insurer in Mumbai.
Replying to a question by Lok Sabha MP Arvind Sawant, the finance ministry said the insurer has neither conducted a survey on redeveloping its chawls nor has it appointed any consultant for the purpose.
Savant had wanted to know the results of the survey that had been conducted by the LIC on redeveloping its chawls in Mumbai and details about the recommendations made by the consultant in this regard.
“No survey has been made by LIC with respect to redevelopment of the Chawls/properties,” the ministry said, adding that LIC “has not appointed any consultant” either.
The land on which Mumbai’s chawls, or row houses built to accommodate mill workers, stand is among the most valuable in India today.
These are located at the heart of Mumbai — where the mills used to be — in localities such as Parel, Worli, Grant Road and Tardeo.
The chawls range from single-storeyed to two- and three-storeyed buildings.
They are unique to Mumbai and have played a crucial role in creating the city’s unique culture due to their open structure that promotes social interaction and co-operation between families.
Among the chawls owned by LIC are Ahilya chawl, Draupadi chawl, Sita chawl, Tara chawl and Mandodari chawl, all in close proximity to Mumbai Fort, the commercial hub of India’s finance capital.
Besides the 10 chawls, LIC also owns 188 buildings in Mumbai, including many of the landmarks, such as Belvedere Court, Oval View, Queens Court, Indian Mercantile Building- 1 & 2, Minerva Mansion and Reliance Building.
Big real estate developers are interested in getting hold of the chawls for redevelopment.
Under redevelopment plans, the existing structures are torn down and tall, multistoreyed buildings are put up in their place at the cost of the builder.
The existing tenants are given flats within the building, while the builder gets his compensation, along with a profit, by selling the remaining flats.
One of the biggest ongoing redevelopment schemes is for the BDD Chawl, Mumbai’s biggest.
The project, estimated to cost Rs 16,000 cr, involves tearing down 121 chawl buildings that are around 100 years old, and home to 9,394 households.