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Too little too late? State to set up Housing Authority before assembly polls

Under the Maharashtra Housing Act, 2012, the Housing Authority is expected to regulate and promote construction, management and transfer of houses

The much-awaited Maharashtra Housing Authority, under the Maharashtra Housing Act, 2012, may become a reality right before the model code of conduct comes into place for the state assembly elections.

Housing minister Sachin Ahir denied that the government was delaying implementation of MHA for political gains
Housing minister Sachin Ahir denied that the government was delaying implementation of MHA for political gains

The housing ministry has decided to implement MHA, aimed at tightening the noose around builders and defaulting contractors, on August 15. As if on cue, the opposition was quick to point out that the implementation, originally slated for June, is a last-ditch attempt by the government to lure voters.

When mid-day asked Sachin Ahir, State Housing minister, about the reason for the delay, he said, “The rules are currently being framed and we have given an extension to the official responsible for framing the rules so that the work is conducted properly.

We expect MHA to be implemented by August 15.” Ahir denied that the government was delaying it for any political gains. The Housing Authority will, apart from its chief, be composed of top bureaucrats, including retired officers from the housing department.

The body’s creation is highly anticipated given that the city faces a major housing crunch, with property prices becoming more and more unaffordable with every passing day. Housing experts claim that the government had been trying to defer the implementation of the MHA due to the lobbying of builders, but the elections have not left them with many options.

“If the government defers its implementation till the code of conduct is enforced, it may lose a chance to take credit for the MHA and the government after this will do so. They can’t afford to lose this opportunity, as the Housing Authority is citizen-friendly.”

BJP leaders, however, claim that the Congress-NCP government is trying every trick to catch the people’s attention. “They think people’s memory is short, and by implementing the MHA now, they are trying to score brownie points. I’m sure people will also remember all the corruption done by the outgoing government,” said Niranjan Shetty, BJP spokesperson.

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