DUBAI: A UAE consortium led by Dubai-based SecLink group has clinched the deal to give a multibillion dollar facelift to one of the world’s largest slum settlements.

In an exclusive interview to Gulf News, SecLink group’s chairman and managing director Nilang Shah said they have secured the bid to transform Mumbai’s Dharavi, which sprawls 2.4 kilometres on prime land in India’s financial capital and is home to over 700,000 slum dwellers.

The mega project, estimated to cost Dh13.54 billion, will provide quality housing to Dharavi residents and also yield over 50 million square feet of saleable space with a revenue potential for $15 billion, SecLink said in a statement to Gulf News.

The financial bid for the redevelopment of Dharavi Notified Area (DNA) was opened by the Government of Maharashtra. Last week, Seclink emerged as the highest bidder after it quoted investments worth Dh3.73 billion. The other bidder was the Adani Group, which quoted Dh2.35 billion.

A Memorandum of understanding (MoU) is now being signed between the Maharashtra government, the Dharavi Redevelopment Project Authority (DRPA) and SecLink.

“This is a great opportunity for UAE-based developers and construction companies to take part in the massive human resettlement programme and expand their footprint in Mumbai,” Shah said, adding that the consortium will seek feedback of Dharavi residents and ensure their ideas are incorporated. “Our primary aim is to uplift the lives of slum dwellers while preserving their social fabric and local economy.”

Among a host of other things, the proposed township will include a hospital and medical college. “Skill training Institutes and eCommerce portals are also being considered to provide employment opportunities to residents,” he said.

The Dharavi makeover project was first conceptualised in 2003 and has since been on the agenda of many political parties in India. It was also one of the poll promises made by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis when he came to power in 2014.

The project was revived last year and Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) was set up to include private to include private-public partnership in 80:20 ratio before global tenders were floated in November 2018.