The tumbledown buildings in Thane have crashed into Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority’s designs of reinventing its rental housing scheme. The MMRDA constructed new buildings in Thane, creating some 3,000 new apartments of 160-square feet each, with the intention to let them out. But the government is leaning towards turning them into transit camps for residents of that city’s dilapidated structures.
This spells bad news for those planning to rent a house from MMRDA through its rental scheme. It has been reported that as per the Thane Municipal Corporation, there are more than 1,000 dilapidated buildings in nine wards in the city, of which 57 are in a very bad shape. Close to 88,000 people reside in these buildings.
According to a senior MMRDA official, “The official decision regarding handing over the rental houses in Thane to tenants of dilapidated buildings from Thane is yet to be taken, but after the CM’s announcement, we expect an official decision soon.”
Ready for occupation
Close to 3,000 rental houses are ready for possession at Dosti Vihar Complex in Vartak Nagar and Dosti Imperial Complex in Manpada.
Earlier, MMRDA intended to release the 3,000 houses for rental in August last year. As per the original plan, it was to release the 160-sq ft flats into the market through an affordable rental scheme. However, after learning that it will be difficult for it to collect rent and maintain buildings, the authority is now contemplating selling them by converting them to 320 sq ft.
More than four years ago, MMRDA had announced the ambitious rental housing project as part of its slum prevention programme. The rationale behind coming up with this project was to stem the mushrooming of slums. It was decided to construct 5,00,000 houses in five years. But the target is far from achieved. In the past, a committee headed by former Mumbai municipal commissioner Subodh Kumar was formed to make recommendations on how the project could be made successful by addressing the problems faced by developers and administration. One of the recommendations was to increase the area of the units yet to be constructed.