Bhendi Bazaar redevelopment COO resigns

Abizer Diwanji, COO of Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust executing the 16.5-acre Bhendi Bazaar redevelopment project, has resigned.

Diwanji, whose one-year contract was to end with the financial year, sought early exit to join a consulting firm.

"I had a one-year contract with the company that was anyway ending on March 31. I've completed the task for which I was appointed. About 20-30 acquisitions are still to be completed, for which I have offered to assist the trust," he said.

Prior to submitting his resignation, Diwanji sought permission of trust chairman Qaidjoher Bhaisaheb Ezzuddin Shahzada, son of Syedna Burhanuddin, high priest of the Dawoodi Bohra community.

"Abizer was to leave us in a few months. It's just that a better opportunity has come his way earlier. Nothing came as a surprise. Chairman of the trust granted him permission," said Abbas Master, CEO of the project.

Bhendi Bazaar, a 200-century-old crowded market neighbourhood, is set to transform into a locality of skyscrapers and open spaces under the cluster redevelopment scheme.

A major hurdle in progress of this Rs 3,000-crore urban renewal scheme is acquisition and consent of tenants of the 250 buildings that make the bazaar.

Diwanji played a key role in the acquisition.

While Dawoodi Bohra Muslims constitute 80 per cent of the tenants to be rehabillitated, other tenants belong to Shia, Sunni and Hindu communities.

"Consent of 20-30 tenants is still to be acquired. I will handhold the project in these acquisitions if my asssitance is required," said Diwanji. The redevelopment project has been divided into eight clusters and demolitions in cluster 3 have begun. Tenants there have moved to transit accomodations set up by the trust at Anjirwadi, Mazgaon; and Ghodapdeo, Byculla.

"The project has now entered a new stage of development where functional heads for various activities have been appointed and the expertise required is of a different kind," said Master.

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