The affordable housing scheme of MHADA in Mumbai has taken a hit amidst the outbreak of COVID-19. The state housing authority was to generate adequate stock of affordable houses in next two to three years by undertaking two big projects at Goregaon. However, due to the pandemic, both projects will be delayed now said, the MHADA official.
The first project was to build about 7,500 houses on vacant land at Pahadi, Goregaon, in a phase wise manner. The second was to redevelop the chawls at Motilal Nagar by offering new houses to about 3,500 original tenants. On the remaining land, it was to construct 40,000 houses for sale via lottery. Motilal Nagar is currently located on 147 acres of a land parcel in a prime area of Goregaon. Due to COVID-19, both projects have been largely affected, said an official from MHADA.
Requesting anonymity, the MHADA official explained, "Pahadi Goregaon housing project work will be delayed by more than two years now. Due to lack of manpower, the work has slowed down. Only the building foundation and piling work is completed. While, at Motilal Nagar, the topography and socio-economic surveys initiated to expedite redevelopment work are stuck. Only when everything goes back to normal will the survey work resume."
Pahadi Goregaon housing project is divided on two plots --A and B-- where houses for EWS (economical weaker section) as well as MIG and LIG (middle and lower income group) will be constructed. About 1,947 tenements for EWS people will be made available here. "The entire project was expected to be completed in five years and the distribution of houses was to be carried out in a phase wise manner. EWS houses were supposed to be ready in two years time and, accordingly, the lottery would have been called. However, the plan fell flat due to the pandemic," said the official.
Yuvraj Mohite, president of Motilal Nagar Vikas Samiti (residents association), who also had a legal fight in the Bombay High Court over the redevelopment of these age old chawls said, "The chawls were constructed in the 1960s. The then PM Jawaharlal Nehru had handed over the keys of these houses. Today, we are in 2020, so of course, redevelopment is needed. The only demand we have is that MHADA should maintain transparency, as we have ownership rights of these houses and are not just tenants. Secondly, it should be built as a symbolic township. Apart from giving houses to the original tenants, the remaining houses should be made only in the affordable scheme and not for higher income group people."
MHADA Mumbai Board, which is the only hope for a common man's dream to own a house in the city, has no housing stock reportedly. The last housing lottery draw was held in 2018 for only 1,395 houses, for which it had received 1.64 lakh applications. Earlier too, in the 2017 lottery for 819 houses, more than one lakh applicants had shown interest. Similarly, in 2016, it had held a lottery for only 910 houses and over a lakh people had applied for this scheme as well. Taking the record of past years, despite receiving lakhs of applications, MHADA Mumbai Board could hardly fulfill the housing demand. Therefore, these two projects turned out to be the priority of MHADA to generate enough housing stock.