Adani Group-helmed Dharavi Redevelopment Project (DRP) on Saturday refuted allegations of favouritism levelled by the Congress over being handed the work to redevelop the area in Mumbai.
In a statement, DRP, which also has the Maharashtra government as a stakeholder, said "vested interests" are attempting to derail or delay the project with a revenue potential of ₹20,000 crore.
The Opposition Congress had on Friday alleged that the BJP government is “benefitting” Adani Group by relaxing norms for the Dharavi redevelopment project in Mumbai.
Party general secretary Jairam Ramesh claimed that the Maharashtra Urban Development Department, which had originally expressed its reservations about relaxing the rules, "has been compelled to issue a notification that removes the provision of indexation in Dharavi's real estate Transferable Development Rights (TDR), and made it mandatory for all Mumbai builders to buy the first 40 per cent of their TDRs from Adani".
The DRP statement termed the attempts to "manufacture a controversy" around TDR generation as "unfortunate".
It claimed that the generation of TDR within the Dharavi Notified Area (DNA) was permitted since the Government Resolution (GR) of 2018, modified in the GR of 2022, reminded that both developments happened before the issuance of the tender for the redevelopment in 2022.
The Maharashtra government is at present only notifying the same as per the due process, the statement said. It also said that a GR issued before the onset of the 2018 tendering process had a provision for the sale of TDR generated from the DRP across Mumbai.
"Contrary to the claim that these policy changes are going to benefit a single entity, the final notification from the government has, in fact, capped the minimum usage of TDR in other projects at 40 per cent instead of 50 per cent, as mentioned in the September 2022 GR," the statement said.
Moreover, the government notification of November 7 also puts a cap on the pricing of TDR against the earlier stance of there being no restriction on the sale price of the TDR generated from the DNA, it added.
It pointed out that the government has now restricted the maximum sale price of TDR to 90 per cent of the ready reckoner rate of receiving plots to avoid any arbitrary pricing of TDR and also included a provision wherein a portal to be run by the civic body will have details of the TDR generated from the project.
“Alleging favouritism of any kind is a mischievous ploy to muddy the waters and divert attention from our goal of transformational urban management,” it said.
It termed allegations of tweaking and amendments to suit selected bidders as baseless and malicious.
‘Rise in TDR value benefits Adani’
The Congress had alleged that the government had, in effect, greatly increased the value of TDRs accruing to “Adani and Adani alone from the Dharavi project” through the recent tweaks.
Reminding of earlier questions posed by his party, Mr. Ramesh said: “We asked the Prime Minister questions about how the Adani Group was allowed to bag the Dharavi Redevelopment Project in 2022 with a bid of only ₹5,069 crore, lower by ₹2,131 crore than the original winning bid in 2018. And this was after the original winning bidder was excluded”.
Mr. Ramesh said TDR is a transferable credit that allows builders who agree to give up their rights to build in sensitive areas for reasons related to the environment, historical or cultural significance, or similar reasons, to be compensated with extra construction rights in other approved areas.
However, he said, the decision to remove indexation means that TDRs generated in low-cost areas like Dharavi can be used to develop expensive real estate in premium locations, such as Bandra, south Mumbai and Juhu.
The Congress has been targeting the Adani Group, accusing the conglomerate of benefitting from the BJP government, and has been demanding a JPC probe into the allegations made by a US short-seller Hindenburg Research. The business conglomerate has denied any wrongdoing on its part.