Social groups in Mumbai unite to demand affordable homes
The government’s failure to develop affordable housing for Mumbaikars has forced social organisations to come together and implement a model pioneered by the late socialist leader Mrinal Gore in the 1990s.
Vishwas Utagi, a former banker, has launched the Nivara Abhiyan initiative, appealing people to come together for affordable housing.
Utagi had worked with Gore’s Nagari Nivara Parishad plan under which 6,200 affordable houses were built in 1996.
“People in Mumbai cannot afford houses at market rates,” Utagi said. “Many of the middle class, lower middle class citizens have been thrown into far suburbs. The idea is to form societies and demand land from the government at affordable rates. As per our calculation, houses can be constructed for Rs 20 lakh each if land is available. The builder lobby is eying the open spaces in the city. We are trying to put pressure on the government to release some land for affordable housing.”