Mumbai: MHADA to buy land for affordable housing

Funds worth `161 crore have been proposed for CM’s homecity Nagpur and only `5 crore is proposed for Mumbai

Mumbai: To increase the affordable housing stock in view of the fact that they do not have a land bank, Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) in its budgetary provision 2019-20 has proposed a certain amount for purchase of plots of land in Mumbai, Pune, Konkan, Amravati, Nagpur and Nashik. According to MHADA Chairman Uday Samant a token amount of Rs 5 crore has been proposed for Mumbai while it is Rs 7 crore each for Konkan and Pune, Rs 1.16 crore for Amravati, Rs 21 crore for Aurangabad, Rs 18 lakh for Nashik and a whopping Rs161 crore for Nagpur.

In fact, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ home city Nagpur has got more funds than any other city. Justifying the difference in funding for the two cities, the Chairman remarked, “Currently for Mumbai we do not have any proposal for purchase of land and so Rs5 crore has been kept as token money, but it can later be increased accordingly, if required.

Moreover, in Nagpur as MHADA has proposals of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna (PMAY) houses, therefore, more funds have been allocated for this city (Nagpur). Currently, this move has been made because as per sources MHADA has less number of houses and more cash premium.

Under Section 33(5) of the MHADA Redevelopment Act if a developer constructs a township on a 4,000 square metre of land they get 3 floor space index (FSI). But if the project is carried out on land measuring more than 4,000 square metres, they get additional 1 FSI. On this additional 1 FSI they can either pay more premium or give the surplus houses to MHADA. So they benefit from this.

Asking MHADA why even though it has cash premium it is not buying any land for affordable housing, Madhu Chavan, MHADA Mumbai housing board chairman said, “Since developers prefer paying premiums instead of giving surplus houses, the Mumbai board has a huge amount of premium collection. Surprisingly, after this policy came into existence several builders got an option to pay premiums and this amount was not used to purchase land till now.

As a result, Mumbai today is falling short of plots of land where they can build affordable housing projects. Moreover, if it continues to do so then Mumbai’s housing board will be unable to fulfil the demand in future for affordable housing. Hence, I always insist that officials should acquire more land in order to increase the number of affordable housing projects.”In the 2018 housing lottery for Mumbai, MHADA could only provide a handful of houses, as against the burgeoning demand.

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