25 'unaffordable' flats returned to MHADA

Believe it or not, 25 people who won MHADA flats in 2011 in the High Income Group (HIG) category recently surrendered their residences citing unaffordability. The flats were located in Shimpoli in Kandivli (W).

A MHADA building in Shimpoli, Kandivli (W). About 25 people, who won flats in the 2011 lottery, returned their flats to the housing body stating that they were too expensive. Pic/Nimesh Dave

This return has got a few MHADA officials worried, as the housing body is supposed to provide affordable housing to Mumbaikars. They fear this might affect sale of flats at the upcoming lottery. In 2011, MHADA had reserved 172 homes for the HIG category of which 88 were kept for lottery winners in the open category and the remaining 84 for winners in the reserved category.

Generally, lottery winners in HIG category are offered two bedroom-hall-kitchen (BHK) flats. But the houses returned were 1 BHKs, with an area of 476 square feet. According to a senior MHADA officer, the returned flats were initially slotted for the Middle Income Group (MIG) category.

The officer said, “These flats were one BHK and hence were meant for the MIG category. But when we considered the cost of construction and amenities provided, these flats were moved to the HIG segment.” These 1 BHK flats were sold for Rs 11,500 per square feet, amounting to a total of Rs 55.16 lakh for 476 square feet.

Another official said, “The rate offered by MHADA in 2011 was way above the market price, as the rate in Kandivli (West) was not more than Rs 7,000 per square feet. Even today the rate wouldn’t be above Rs 11,000. The flats were small and the rates were extremely expensive, making the flats unaffordable.”

MHADA officials made it clear that they were unaffected by these returns. Satish Gawai, MHADA vice-president and chief executive officer, said, “Crying foul despite knowing the rates in advance is unacceptable. All those people, who surrendered their homes, were aware of the rates before they filled the forms.

Now, the homes will be given to those on the waiting list.” He also hinted that in the coming days rates were only going to increase. Gawai said, “We do not provide any subsidy in the HIG category. Keeping in mind the present day scenario, where everything has become expensive, rates will only increase.”

Why so?
In 2011, MHADA had allotted flats to winners in Powai at a much cheaper rate. A flat measuring 701 square feet in Powai was priced at Rs 34.75 lakh.  

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