While only 9,559 mill workers out of the 1.48 lakh applicants have got lucky at the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority’s (MHADA) two lotteries, one of which was held yesterday, they too won’t get hold of their flats’ keys for at least a year.
One of the under construction buildings being built by MHADA where the Western India Mill once stood at Lalbaug. Pic/Ajinkya Sawant
This is due to two reasons: Firstly, some of these buildings are still under construction and secondly, a case filed by Karamchari Niwara and Kalyankari Sangh, an NGO representing mill workers, asking how MHADA plans to allot flats to 1.48 lakh workers when it has space for just 11,977, stops the authority from giving possession until court order. The authority is constructing buildings on the land of six mills.
In the last week of April, Bombay High Court gave MHADA three weeks’ time to come up with an answer as to how will it allot housing. While the third and last phase of lottery, which will be conducted in August, will have 2,418 awardees, the other two saw lotteries being awarded to 6,925 and 2,634 people.
More than 500 people were present at the Rangasharda auditorium in Bandra for the second phase of the lottery, along with Chief Minster Devendra Fadnavis, other ministers and MHADA officials.
The authority will also check the eligibility of the winners by verifying their documents.
Arun Narayan Pawar (40) received the lottery on behalf of his father Narayan Krishna Pawar (85), who was unwell. “It feels great to win this lottery. Unfortunately my father is unwell today or else he would have been the happiest person to live this moment. The number 9 seems to be lucky for me as this is the same day that my father used to get his salary and today is May 9, when we have won the house we have been dreaming of for years,” said Arun.
Yesterday also brought disappointment for those who went back home empty-handed. Rekha Tukaram Narkar (45), whose husband worked for Western India Mill for 32 years and died three years after the mill shut down, now lives with her daughter after her son refused to keep her in his house. “After my husband died, I had no money. I somehow managed to get my children educated but I still don’t have a house of my own,” said Narkar.
Abhinav Parwatkar (59), a former mill worker, said, “I have been dreaming of a house in Mumbai for the last 50 years that we have been here. Now, it seems that my hard work has finally paid off . We have been staying in a rented room in Santacruz.”
Another awardee, Nandalal Ramnath Yadav (60), who worked for 28 years in Ruby Mills, said, “I shifted to my hometown, Phulpur in Allahabad, as I did not have a house in Mumbai. It really feels good to have a house here and now at least I can think of staying here.”