India’s Adani to convert Mumbai slum into modern city despite challenges

By Dhwani Pandya and Aditya Kalra

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Indian billionaire Gautam Adani on Thursday said he plans to convert India’s largest slum in Mumbai, Dharavi, into a modern city hub, a huge challenge which would require the rehousing of around 1 million people.

Believed to be the largest slum in Asia, Dharavi is a crowded area that houses thousands of poor families in cramped quarters in the center of India’s financial capital. Many residents have no access to running water or clean toilets.

The state government of Maharashtra last week confirmed Adani’s $619 million bid to redevelop the area that covers 625 acres (253 hectares), and has been described by officials as “the world’s largest urban renewal scheme.”

Adani wrote on the company’s website that the redevelopment will provide gas, water, drainage, healthcare and other facilities to them.

“The design and implementation of the Dharavi project are challenges monumental in both scale and dimensions,” Adani said. “We are also aware that the project will test our resilience, our capability and our execution skills to their limits.”

The redevelopment of Dharavi was first mooted in the 1980s as a way to develop valuable land while providing proper housing to those living there.

It is the latest mega-project taken on by ports-to-energy conglomerate Adani Group, which already supplies electricity in Mumbai through listed unit Adani Transmission .

The billionaire’s group has been under pressure in recent months after U.S. short seller Hindenburg Research accused it of improper business practices, leading to a more than $150 billion plunge in value of group’s main stocks. Adani denied wrongdoing, and the stocks have since recovered by around $50 billion after he assured investors and repaid debt.

(Reporting by Dhwani Pandya and Aditya Kalra, Editing by Alexandra Hudson)