The first phase will see 1,000 families receive their new homes, along with 19 retail units. The towers are situated near the open-air laundry, with many of the residents being traditional dhobi families. The project, a joint venture between Omkar group and Piramal Realty, includes amenities such as welfare centres and balwadis. The views from the new homes include the Mahalaxmi Racecourse and Arabian Sea. The project is being hailed as the world's tallest rehabilitation structure.
Mumbai: In a major SRA housing milestone, Omkar Realtors has commenced the delivery of the first rehab homes in two 42-storey towers, Mumbai’s tallest SRA building, at the iconic Dhobi Ghat in Mahalaxmi.
Around 1,000 families will receive their 300-square-feet new homes along with 19 retail units in the first phase. The first 300 homes were handed over by the developer on August 18.
The towers are located 150 metres from Dhobi Ghat, the open-air laundry with 730 washing stones dating back to the 1890s. “Many of the residents are traditional dhobi families,” said Lokesh Kanojia, a resident of Flat No 774. “My family has been washing laundry at Dhobi Ghat for generations, and this part where the rehab towers have come up was the portion where we dried the washed clothes or sukhani as we call it.”
Project coordinator Ganesh Kesavan said nearly 70 percent of the families were in the laundry business. “It has become very convenient for us,” said Shrinivas Satta. “Our workplace is just 200 metres away. Our families are in the process of moving in.
The project, a joint venture between the Omkar group and Piramal Realty, has come up on 12 acres of prime land next to Jacob Circle near Mahalaxmi railway station. While Piramal Realty is constructing Piramal Mahalaxmi for luxury housing, the Omkar group has constructed the slum rehab component.
The two towers being handed over are serviced by 11 lifts and will have amenities like four welfare centres, four balwadis and 10 society offices as per the Slum Rehabilitation Authority rules, said Kesavan. “Commercial units have been given space on the ground floor, and those who had homes behind their shops have been allotted houses on the first floor,” he said.
“We are all very happy and excited to move into our new homes,” said Kanojia. “Six to seven of us would stay in a one-plus-one slum earlier, and now we will move into a mini 1BHK apartment with views of the Mahalaxmi Racecourse and Arabian Sea. What more can we ask for?
The biggest plus of the project is, indeed, the spectacular views of the Mahalaxmi Racecourse, Haji Ali, and the Arabian Sea. “The views of the sale tower next door and this project are the same,” said Shantaram Ambekar, whose wife, Shailaja Ambekar, is the chief promoter of the project. “The sea breeze keeps blowing in and there is hardly any need for ceiling fans.”
Ambekar said that the area was earlier covered by dense slum pockets. “It was so dense that it was impossible for fire engines to enter in an emergency,” he said. “In 2014, all of us decided to initiate the Slum Rehabilitation Scheme, and selected Omkar Realtors. The developer has supported us, given us good quality construction and has completed the project speedily.
The value of the slum dwellers’ houses has escalated multiple times. “Our huts were worth ₹15 lakh earlier, and now, before possession, our new houses are worth ₹65 lakh. After possession and completion of the project, they could touch ₹85 lakh or more,” said Kanojia, who supplies washed and ironed garments to garment traders.
Residents said that each floor had 15 tenements with well-lit eight-feet-wide corridors. “The best part of the design is that each home does not face the other and each tenement door has a 25-feet distance from the other,” said a resident. “Also, the passage can be used for seating during small functions in a house.”
Shantanu Chakraborty and Amity Singh from the facility team said that unlike generators used by slum buildings, the Omkar group’s towers had standby power units, which would switch on automatically in case of a power cut. “The fire tank is linked to two water tanks of 1.5 lakh-litre capacity, and once the fire tank overflows, the excess water will flow into these tanks and will be pumped up into the overhead sintex tanks fitted inside the units,” said Chakraborty.
The Omkar group has been in the forefront of the slum redevelopment space. As a major player in the field, the developer recently crossed a delivery milestone of 3,000 houses at Omkar’s Bhoiwada (Parel-Sewri) project. The company has delivered more than 16,000 houses in the SRA space over the past decade.
The group claimed that these were the world’s tallest rehab buildings. “Omkar’s Mahalaxmi project, apart from being life-transforming for the weaker sections of society, is now a milestone in engineering, offering better living spaces and addressing social issues. Its vertical development definitely puts it on the world map as the tallest rehabilitation structure in a free housing scheme,” said Rajiv Agarwal, Chief Operating Officer Property Affairs, of Omkar Realtors.