The state, on Friday, approved the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) budget of Rs 10,764.99 crore for 2022-23. In this meeting, the development authority also presented and approved the revised budget estimate for 2021-22. The approved budget for 2022-23, though, has a deficit of Rs 2885.92 crore.
In the approved budget, MHADA has stated that it will build 4,623 new houses in Mumbai alone, and over 15,000 houses across Maharashtra this year.
The prominent projects that will be undertaken in the city include Pahadi Goregaon, Antop Hill, Bombay Development Directorate (BDD) chawl redevelopment, Magathane Borivali, Khadakpada Dindoshi, Patra Chawl, among others.
In fact, the Mumbai Board of MHADA also already kickstarted projects at Pahadi Goregaon, which will generate over 8,000 houses in a phased manner; these will be sold via a lottery draw to citizens. It is one of the flagship projects of Mumbai that will open up opportunities for homebuyers, especially the lower middle and economically weaker sections and salaried people in the suburbs due to affordability. This year, MHADA’s Mumbai board is likely to call a lottery also for houses in the final stage of completion. A budgetary provision of Rs 250 crore has been made for this.
Another flagship project is Patra Chawl. Recently, MHADA held a groundbreaking ceremony to begin the incomplete project that will also generate surplus houses through this project. A budget allocation of Rs 435 crore has been made for this alone.
However, citizens and activists believe MHADA is going at a snail’s speed and will not be able to fulfil the housing demand of homebuyers, especially in Mumbai.
Ramesh Prabhu, a consumers’ group representative, said that the body has completely failed in its provision of providing affordable houses. “In the 1970s and 1980s, MHADA got a lot of land parcels and developed 202 colonies. But today it is just building 4,000-5,000 houses. As compared to private developers, the numbers are nothing. Lack of willingness and political interference has really disturbed the working of MHADA. Even with the Slum Rehabilitation Authority, it failed to provide houses,” Prabhu said.
Prabhu added that MHADA would have been able to generate a higher housing stock if it had redeveloped its 53 dilapidating colonies in the suburbs.
Activist Anil Galgali also slammed the authority for its failure to provide sufficient houses in the city. He said, “Before the Covid-19, lotteries were called for a handful of houses by the Mumbai board. Recently, the Konkan board called a lottery for houses in Thane and MMR, but not in Mumbai. It is time for MHADA to identify land parcels and carry out housing projects faster.”
Galgali said so many redevelopment projects are stuck and MHADA is not acting against builders for inefficiency. “The demand should be gauged from the fact that one lakh applications are received for 1,000 houses,” he said.