State-run housing body comes under CAG glare for haphazard policies and decisions; says MHADA had neglected economically weaker sections 
The latest findings of a draft audit report by the Comptroller & Auditor General of India (CAG) may prove as a major embarrassment for the State controlled Maharashtra Housing & Area Development Authority (MHADA), which is already mired in controversies. 

Kahani ghar, ghar ki: Around 150 MHADA tenements have been lying
vacant in 83 colonies under five regional boards of the housing body.
File pic

The CAG report has raised questions over the policies and planning of the state's housing arm for 1,428 unsold housing units across the state, ranging 1 to 20 years. It was either improper planning or irregularities in its execution that resulted in blocking of Rs 43 crore, the report has said, sources told this newspaper. 

Further, the state and Mhada have not been able to allot 150 tenements under the 2 per cent discretionary quota with the Housing Minister (The department is with the CM since the last seven years). These have been lying vacant in 83 colonies under five regional boards of the housing body. This non-allotment by the government resulted in blocking funds worth Rs 2.5 crore, the report adds.

Interestingly, the state has rejected a Mhada proposal for the open sale of these tenements. Proposals submitted by Mhada twice in 2007, once during 2008 and twice during the year 2009 were turned down.

Slow rate
The data of available housing units under 2 per cent quota and the ratio of its release reveals that 12 out of 79 houses for the category of economically weaker sections (EWS) were allotted. Whereas, under lower income group (LIG), 27 out of 30 tenements and 39 out of 45 under middle income group (MIG) and 62 out of 65 for the higher income group (HIG) category were allotted.

Also some of the findings by CAG say that the authority failed to recover the cost of repair of the buildings as the executive engineer of Mhada's maintenance division failed to report it for its recovery.

No alteration or modification in the tenements allotted by Mhada is allowed. Those who carry out such things are liable for eviction. Scrutiny of records of Estate Manager- IV of Mumbai board revealed 152 tenants in various colonies indulged into additions to their existing ground floor tenements without any approval.

The BMC had while charging the property tax levied extra tax amount for the additions. In this matter, Mhada paid the extra amount to BMC, asking Estate Manager to recover it. But he failed to do so and Mhada paid approximately Rs 2 crore to BMC. 

From 2001 to 2009, the competent authority in Mhada issued eviction notices against 354 persons living in colonies for unpaid dues, sublet without permission, additions, unauthorised occupation etc. Scrutiny of 54 cases revealed that in 11 cases eviction was carried out, but those tenements were not re-allotted or sold to other persons. In one case, tenant was staying though eviction order was issued in May 2007. In 40 cases it was revealed that no procedure followed in 12 cases after 8 years and in one case a Mhada employee continued to stay though eviction order was issued in 2004.