No more MHADA lotteries?

Stake all you want to get a house in MHADA’s lucky draw this year, for this may well be the last one to provide affordable houses in Mumbai to the common man.

End of the rope: State Housing Minister Sachin Ahir (inset) said that there is hardly any land available in the city anymore. File pic

State Housing Minister Sachin Ahir believes that there is a good chance the housing authority may not be able to come up with further housing stock because the city is on the brink of running out of spare land, and MHADA, its own properties.

“There’s hardly any land available for MHADA in Mumbai. Hence, there’s a very high possibility that MHADA won’t be able to come up with further lotteries,” said Ahir.

In this year’s lottery too, of the nearly 2,800 homes, only 837 are in Greater Mumbai and the rest are further northward in the metropolitan region. The authority is also losing its properties, as their redevelopers tend to offer a premium instead of real estate back to it.

MHADA has developed several properties in the past, and most of them are now undergoing redevelopment. While the authority was expecting to get flats from the redevelopment projects, that hasn’t happened yet.

“There were nearly 801 redevelopment proposals that came to MHADA. Of this, 435 have been passed. But none are willing to give us flats. Instead, they are ready to pay a premium in terms of money,” said Ahir.

According to one of MHADA’s conditions for redevelopment, whenever any of its properties are redeveloped, a certain construction component must come to MHADA or a premium paid to it. “Now we have funds but not much space,” said Ahir.

The housing body has invited seven proposals for flats to be handed over instead of money, but Ahir claims none reverted. Ahir’s claims were backed by a senior MHADA official who said on the condition of anonymity, “We are almost out of land.

The only way out is to demolish existing transit camps, but that’s not feasible since most of them are occupied.” However, real estate experts say MHADA need not shut the lottery system.

Ajay Chaturvedi, realty expert, said, “MHADA can hire contractors itself and go ahead with redevelopment of its own properties. This would enable it to come up with houses in larger numbers. The authority has everything in line, it just needs to act soon.”

There lies some hope, as Ahir said that a certain amendment in the current policy may be on the cards. “Within the coming months, we will see to it that redevelopment takes place and we get more flats,” he said. 

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