If you’re the fortunate winner of an affordable home in the upcoming MHADA lottery, you may have to take the celebration down a notch or two. For, it would be hard to have a housewarming in the dark, with no water in the spanking new taps in your brand new house.
In what seems to be an untried advertising tactic, the Maharashtra Housing And Area Development Authority’s ad for its May 31 lottery for nearly 1,300 homes categorically mentions that the authority is responsible only for the houses it sells. Providing water and electricity is the job of the planning authorities, and “if there’s any delay in getting the services, it may take considerable time”. There is no mention of the duration of this “considerable time”.
The clause buried under the ‘Special Instructions’ section of the ad is not an afterthought. It is there by design, as a result of some nasty past experience. In the 2010 MHADA lottery, flats in Ghatkopar didn’t get water for a long period, while the year after, people who got houses in Shimpoli, Kandivli did not get possession, as the authority couldn’t get occupation certificates (OC) for the building.
Time and again, the “lucky” winners protested and complained, but without success. Weary of hearing such gripes, the authority devised the safety catch this time: the clause talking about an undefined delay in providing the two most essential facilities in any house. According to senior MHADA officials, if any building doesn’t get water or electricity due to any problem, they can flash this clause and tell them ‘We-told-you-so’.
MHADA’s Mumbai Board chief executive officer N K Sudhanshu said, “We put in the clause because we want people to be aware that, at times, it does take time in getting occupation certificate. It generally takes a month or two but at times it gets delayed, and that affects the electricity and water supply.” MHADA has also decided that it wouldn’t take money from the lottery winners who get flats in buildings that don’t have the OC.
“Till the time we don’t get an OC, we won’t accept money from winners of flats in such buildings. The moment we get it, water and electricity shall follow,” said Sudhanshu. This week, MHADA would start accepting applications for homes up for grabs at rates below the market prices. The flats are located in Kandivli, Dahisar, Powai, Kurla and other suburbs. The prices range from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 74 lakh.