The popular belief that Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) homes are affordable seems to be veering far from the truth since of late. If applicants feel lucky when they win homes in the MHADA lottery, they should not celebrate straight away as the housing authority could spring a surprise and hike the rates. In the past two years, MHADA has hiked the prices of its projects thrice, which were already sold in 2010.
The latest additions to the list of surprised lottery winners are flat owners in MHADA Colony, Maharashtra Nagar in Mankhurd. The flats meant for lower segments like Lower Income Group (LIG) and the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) were allotted in the 2010 lottery. The cost of these flats has now been hiked by 25 per cent. According to MHADA officials, this is because the housing authority had to shell out for various clearances and the lottery winners are informed about a possible hike when taking possession.
Around 1,018 homes meant for the EWS segment were sold in 2010 for Rs 3,94,450. Two years down the line, MHADA has hiked flat prices by Rs 98,871 taking the cost to Rs 4,93,321, which is almost a 25 per cent hike. In 2010, 93 homes were reserved for the LIG segment at the cost of Rs 7,65,852 each. Now the price has gone up by Rs 2,65,852 and these flats cost Rs 10,03,526. MiD DAY had reported on January 8, 2013 (‘25 unaffordable flats returned to MHADA’) about 25 MHADA lottery winners surrendering the homes they had won, as they could not afford to pay the rates.
MHADA had earlier increased rates for homes in Malwani by Rs 2.5 lakh and by Rs 15 lakh for homes in Powai. MHADA officials claim that people have been told in advance that the rates may go up. “While allotting flats, the clause that rates may go up is clearly mentioned. Hence, the recent price hikes cannot affect the credibility of MHADA in providing homes at affordable rates. Even with the price hike, the rates are still reasonably less in comparison to the market rate,” a senior MHADA official said on condition of anonymity.
D Jagdale, joint chief officer of the Mumbai MHADA board, said, “The occupation certificate for the building wasn’t ready and environmental clearance and other permissions were pending. The MHADA has invested in getting all these formalities completed and hence the prices were hiked.”