With MHADA, there's no home sweet home

The Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) may be a government body, but if you were to judge from its actions alone, it is no better than a private builder.

In a city that needs some 1 lakh new homes every year, MHADA isn’t doing much to help. In the lottery this year, they have 997 homes; not even a perfect thousand. What is more disturbing is that despite the government’s direction to sell houses based on carpet area only, MHADA is selling them on built-up area instead. When its own body isn’t following the rules, how can the government expect private builders to obey?

MHADA is supposed to give out houses at affordable rates, but its prices are far from that, even though it does not have to buy land, which counts for about 50 per cent of the total development cost. Despite the fact that the technology used by MHADA is faster and cheaper compared to the bricks-and-mortar method, the prices are unjustifiably high.

As if this wasn’t enough, now there is a proposal that MHADA will charge money from builders who redevelop MHADA properties, instead of getting a commitment from them to build more affordable homes. This will further reduce the number of homes that are accessible to the common man.

The housing authority was supposed to take up slum rehabilitation on its own land, but even that plan is off now.

If the government, and by consequence MHADA, is serious about providing homes for all, officials will have to work on a policy change. Buy land cheaper, grant freebies (extra FSI) to builders in exchange for economical homes, and implement the rules strictly.

In a city like ours, where an affordable home is just a cruel dream, the least MHADA can do is to behave like a government body should in the interest of the common man.

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