Mumbai's low cost housing project a non starter
The target was to provide affordable homes of 250-400 sq ft and cost Rs 5 lakh to Rs 25 lakh to middleand lower-income groups
Feb 02, 2015
Source : The Times of India


Mumbai: Tall claims, but no delivery. It has been five years since the Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI-CREDAI) entered into a pact with the state government for an ambitious project of building five lakh low-cost houses in Mumbai, but the project has been a non-starter.

Now, the builders' body is seeking an extension for the pact to achieve the goal, which at the time of inking the deal in 2010 was supported by more than 500 builders without an extension, the agreement will end this month.

The target was to provide affordable homes of 250-400 sq ft and cost Rs 5 lakh to Rs 25 lakh to middleand lower-income groups living in the metropolis and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

The memorandum of understating (MoU) was signed in the presence of then chief minister Ashok Chavan In lieu of these affordable houses, developers were expecting speedy clearances for all related activities of the project.

But, according to the developers' body, the plan has remained on paper without any major execution because of lack of approvals.

"The intent was serious, but unfortunately approvals were not as smooth as we thought they would be for these affordable housing projectsRs We are confident that the new government will relook at this proposal and now approvals will be faster," said Dharmesh Jain, president-elect of the associationRs "MCHI is keen on playing a major role in the government's dream of offering homes for all."

State housing minister Prakash Mehta and predecessor Sachin Ahir couldn't be contacted for commentRs These five lakh homes were to be constructed under state government programmes like the rental housing project by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and a joint venture of the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority .

The association's role was to be a facilitator for the construction of affordable homes within projects developed by its members.

According industry estimates, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region has an immediate demand of around 1.4 million homes, of which around 80% is expected to originate from people with annual income of Rs 3 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.

The affordable housing segment is expected to account for 85-90% of total residential development, or 40-45 million housing units, by 2028.

Under the MoU, the state government was expected to extend necessary cooperation for projects.It envisaged government support through incentives to developers, authorising the respective nodal agencies to provide for a single window clearance to projects comprising affordable homes and making necessary changes in legislation.

The focus was to take immediate steps to encourage construction of affordable homes so that the housing deficit in the Mumbai and MMR could be reasonably decreased.

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