With property prices shooting through the roof in the city, the onus is squarely on the state-run development bodies — Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) and City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra (Cidco) — to develop affordable homes, and they are supposedly doing their bit by putting out at least 10,500 houses within the next year, though the critics say this is a measly number given the soaring demand.
Mhada will be ready with 2,793 homes in Virar and Konkan region this year, and Cidco would put approximately 5,000 on the block next year, but they are barely enough to cater to the lakhs of applicants.
“Both agencies have the mandate to create affordable houses, but what we are seeing is a very small number,” said Ramesh Prabhu, chairman, Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association.
“A majority of the people cannot afford to buy houses from private builders and are dependent on Mhada and Cidco.”
In Mhada’s last five lotteries, more than 11.25 lakh applicants tried their luck for 16,053 houses.
For Cidco properties, more than 1 lakh people applied last time. The houses from both agencies are priced less than half the amount charged by private builders.
The state government has defended itself saying it is trying its best to create affordable houses.
“We will generate at least 1 lakh houses across the state in the next four years”, said Sachin Ahir, state minister for housing.
PARTIES COME FIRST The city has lost the chance to construct 16,000 to 20,000 lowcost houses as huge tracts of land was allotted by the state government to various political parties and trusts at throwaway prices in the last two decades.
Two former chief ministers, Vilasrao Deshmukh and Sushil Kumar Shinde, had doled out 67 prime properties measuring more than 2.5 lakh square metres during their tenures.
Experts say Mhada colonies and Cidco plots also offer a great opportunity for creation of affordable houses. “Mhada should redevelop its colonies and can easily generate lakhs of houses,” said Pankaj Kapoor, managing director, Liases Foras, a real-estate research firm that was assigned by Mhada to conduct a study on revamp of its 56 colonies.