The BDD (Bombay Development Department) chawls in Worli are the earliest and the largest of the current residential areas in Worli. The BDD chawls provide the middle class and the lower middle class of Mumbai a better means of living due to its central location. Though Mumbai has a glamorous real estate market, modern homes are out of the middle class reach. Many of the EWS and Middle Class families are residing in the BDD chawls.
These were prison buildings during the British rule which were later converted to residential use. Buildings contain one-room apartments. The BDDchawls are located at Worli, Naigoan, N.M Joshi Marg and Sewri. The largest being that in Worli and the smallest at Sewri.
All the BDD chawls constructed at the four locations have identical building design. All are ground plus three floors structures. Typically a building has ten rooms on either side of the corridor, and each room has a ‘nahani’, and a kitchen area with a loft above. Two toilet blocks one for women and one for men with three WCs are provided at the end of on corridor along with a spiral staircase as a fire-escape. Entrance of the building is at the end of the ground floor while the stairs are in the middle of the length of the building.
After 15 years of back and forth, Mumbai’s famous BDD chawl is ready for a makeover. If things move according to the plans the 16000 that live here can dream of better living standards. The Maharashtra Chief Secretary, has cleared the proposal for redevelopment of BDD chawls at Naigaon and N.M. Joshi Marg. “After redevelopment the tenants will get flats of 500-sq.ft of built up area. The flat will have one master bedroom, one toilet, one bathroom and a dining-room cum hall”.
The BMC is the planning authority; the Development Control Rules will be amended first. The Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) will be the nodal agency for redevelopment project. However a section of the BDD chawls residents have raised objections against the MHADA as the nodal agency. The Worli BDD chawls could not be cleared as the issue is locked in a legal tangle.
The British had constructed the 207 BDD chawls in 1920, as a low-cost housing for mill workers, dock workers, civic and other government employees. The BDD chawls are spread over an area of 93 acres and comprise 207 of ground plus three-storey buildings, having 16,557 flats measuring 160 sq.ft.
In what is described as a huge lifestyle change, residents of BDD chawls will be able to move from a 160 sq.ft., accommodation to about 500 sq,ft. living modern space. This is a step towards Transforming India.
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