Bhendi Bazaar will not become gated community, trust us, says SBUT

Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT) allayed fears of a section of Muslims Thursday that Bhendi Bazaar could become a gated community after redevelopment. It said the project was to benefit all communities, including non-Bohra Muslims and Hindus.

The Rs 3,500-crore scheme will move 3,500 families to 350-square-foot apartments from congested dwellings and create better equipped spaces for 1,200 businesses. It will also free up one-sixth of the 16.5-acre Bhendi Bazaar for recreational areas.

A majority of Bhendi Bazaar residents belong to the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community and non-Bohra groups, who fear being sidelined, have been opposing the project.

"There are groups that have created a controversy citing the project will sideline non-Bohra Muslims and other communities. We want to assure all families involved their interest is utmost priority for the trust," said Abbas Master, SBUT CEO.

"This is not a gated community project. Religious and other interests of all communities will be given importance," he said.

"For example, we will ensure the area near the mosque where Sunnis pray will be beautified," said a member of SBUT.

The project had received over 77 per cent consent, he said.

Nearly 70 per cent of Bhendi Bazaar residents are Bohri Muslims. "Many residents fear they will be thrown out or their places of worship removed. Such issues are hurdles in obtaining full consent," said the SBUT member.

SBUT had decided to bring all stakeholders on one platform to resolve the matter, said Master.

After a delay of nearly three years, during which SBUT struggled to get clearances from BMC, MHADA and other state agencies and faced stiff resistance from residents not willing to move to a transit camp, the first phase of the redevelopment began last year with the demolition of two buildings.

The project seeks to redevelop nine clusters.

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