All those looking to rent a house in Thane might soon be able to live in a flat built by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), with the planning body intending to hold a lottery system for the 1,700 houses it constructed under the rental housing project.
MMRDA Joint Project Director Dilip Kawathkar said, “Around 1,700 houses, which we constructed in Thane through our rental housing project, are complete and we are awaiting occupation certificate (OC) from the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC). The committee formed by the government on rental housing has already submitted its report and we are waiting for the government’s decision. Once the decision is taken, we can plan a schedule for the lottery.”
The MMRDA was about to release 3,000 houses in the rental category in August 2012. As per its original plan, the authority was to release 160-sq-ft flats in the market through the affordable rental scheme. But after learning that it would be difficult for the MMRDA to collect rent and maintain buildings, authorities are contemplating doubling the area of the existing flats before renting them out.
A senior MMRDA official said, “Around 3,000-odd rental units are ready and we are thinking of making them bigger before giving them to the public.” Sources in the MMRDA said demolishing the wall dividing two flats would double the size of flats so that the area can be increased from 160 to 320 sq ft.
The MMRDA had announced its ambitious rental housing project as part of its slum prevention programme more than four years ago. The aim behind this project was to prevent slums from mushrooming. A call was taken to build five lakh houses in five years. However, it is a long way yet before the MMRDA arrives at the target.