50,000 ‘affordable homes’ up for sale in Mahul and Trombay
The Maharashtra government, which could not build a single house under its much-touted affordable housing scheme in the last three years, now plans to sell 50,000 vacant houses which were built for project-affected persons (PAP) in Mahul, Trombay and Vidyavihar, as part of the same plan.
The houses, measuring 250 sq ft each, were built by MHADA for those affected by projects undertaken by the BMC and the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA), for roads, metros, gardens etc. Twenty-five thousand houses each were handed over to the BMC and the MMRDA.
However these have been lying vacant for the five years, as PAPs have refused to move into them, for various reason — issues like, the house is far away from their place of livelihood; there is little or no railway and BEST connectivity or bus routes; and no schools and healthcare facilities in the vicinity are some of the reasons cited.
Constructing affordable homes has been a big challenge for the government, which is why not a single house was built in the last three years. Immediately after coming to power in 2014, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had announced that his government would build 11 lakh affordable houses in the state, and of which 3,00,000 were in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).
In fact, even under the Prime Minister’s Awas Yojana (PMAY), not a single location was proposed by MHADA in Mumbai, even though it is building 26,000 such houses in the MMR. It has received nearly four lakh applications for these 26,000 homes.
Housing Minister Prakash Mehta said, “We have asked both the BMC and the MMRDA to submit realistic projections of how many houses they will need to rehabilitate PAPs. After receiving their projections, we want to use the rest of the houses for affordable housing.”
“Work on deciding how much these houses should cost, and which affected persons will get them, is currently under way,” Mehta said.
Chandrasekhar Prabhu, town planner and housing rights activist, said, “If PAPs have refused to move into these homes because of a lack of basic civic amenities in the area, how will others who will buy these homes from the state government be ready to move into the area? I simply fail to understand the state government’s logic.”
There are two types of houses in the Mahul and Trombay areas: one built by the government, and the other by private builders in lieu of getting transferable development rights (TDR), and handed over to the government.