Anyone from outside the city harbouring dreams of owning an affordable home in Mumbai limits through the next Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) lottery, should be prepared for a longer wait and get used to a new set of odds.
A trend that has allegedly developed over the years has been defeating the purpose of the housing board providing affordable housing, as applicants hailing from outside the city secure homes through the lottery, merely as an investment or to put these places up for rent. With this is mind, the housing authority decided during the Head of Departments (HOD) meeting on Wednesday to reserve 80 per cent of MHADA homes for Mumbaikars and offer the remaining 20 per cent to others.
The decision was made after several HODs came up with the suggestion. Even persons living in Thane, Kalyan, Mira Road, Vasai, Virar, Karjat or anywhere beyond Dahisar on the Western line, or beyond Mulund on the Central and Govandi on the Harbour line will not be included in the 80 per cent, but the 20 per cent category.
Similarly, the politician’s quota in the Lower Income Group (LIG) and the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) will be slashed. The suggestions for the slash arose as most Members of Parliament and Members of the Legislative Assembly have quotas in the lower segment though their basic salaries are above Rs 20,000, which does not permit them to apply in those categories.
Similarly, those applying under other categories, including artists and freedom fighters, will go through a verification process to ensure that no earlier applications have been made in their names. A committee was formed on Wednesday to oversee the processes and former deputy Lokayukta Suresh Kumar was elected as committee chairman.
How it came about
During the HOD meeting on Wednesday at the MHADA headquarters in Kalanagar, certain questions were raised on how to make the lottery more transparent and beneficial. Many senior bureaucrats raised the issue and suggested that maximum number of homes be reserved for Mumbaikars.
A senior officer said, “Many people from outside Mumbai apply for these homes and even get it. However, many of them don’t shift and don’t stay in these houses, and the premises lie vacant or some are given out on rent. This defeats the main purpose of housing. Hence, the suggestion arose to reserve 80 per cent of the homes for Mumbaikars and 20 per cent for people staying outside Mumbai.”
Regarding the decision to slash the politician’s quota, another senior officer said on condition of anonymity, “Most of the politicians do not apply in the EWS and LIG segment, as their basic salary exceeds the Rs 20,000 per month benchmark, which is the minimum salary required to apply under those categories. Instead of keeping those homes vacant, its better to include them in the lottery by removing the reservations meant for the politicians.”
In a bid to make the lottery process more transparent in regard to the artist and freedom fighter quotas, MHADA is in the process of framing new rules. As there is no clarity on who can apply under the artist quota, MHADA is planning to frame rules to streamline the process. Similarly, MHADA officials would be verifying and crosschecking applications under the Freedom Fighter category, to ensure the applicant is genuine and establish whether any earlier applications have been filed under that particular name.
Those applying under this category will have to furbish more than just memorabilia to get a new home under the quota. Vaishali Sandansingh, CPRO, MHADA, confirmed that there were many suggestions during the HOD meet and hence a committee has been formed to look into the process. The move comes in the wake of the Housing authority planning to have a lottery for around 3,000 homes by May this year.