On Thursday morning, Saurabh Pandey (29), a senior executive with an MNC, braved the November chill and queued up outside a small, dingy window. Brushing shoulders with him was Sanjay Hargyan Singh (42), an autorickshaw driver.
The men were part of a crowd that thronged the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) headquarter, Vikas Sadan, to buy application forms for the DDA's latest housing scheme.
Pandey, who will apply for the first time for a DDA flat, has been living in the Capital for the past nine years. Singh, who has spent all his life in Delhi, will be trying his luck for the fourth time to get that elusive DDA flat.
The latest housing scheme of the DDA, the country's biggest land developer, was launched on Thursday. From retired army officials to dhaba owners and housemaids to businessman — Delhiites from all walks of life had come to try their luck in the capital's biggest lottery.
"DDA flats are not luxurious but at least it gives you a chance to own a house in Delhi at affordable rates," said Pandey, who wants to buy a two-bedroom flat.
Though official figures were not available as forms were being sold from numerous branches of public sector and private banks, sources in DDA said that nearly one lakh forms were sold by Thursday evening.
"The figures will be available only in a few days," a DDA spokesperson said.
In the last DDA housing scheme in 2008, 10 lakh forms were sold and six lakh applications were submitted. The number of houses on offer back then were just 5,020.
This time, there are nearly 16,000 one bedroom, two bedroom and three bedroom flats on offer.
"The number of flats is huge this time and I hope there is a better chance of getting lucky in the draw of lots," said Keshav Bedi, who runs a restaurant.
The flats are located in areas like Vasant Kunj, Mukherjee Nagar, Motia Khan, Jasola, Dwarka, Rohini, Narela, Jaffarabad, Kondli and Gharoli. Applicants will have to deposit Rs. 1.5 lakh as registration money, which is refundable.
Applications will be accepted till December 24 and the draw will be held by April 2011. Brochures and forms are available at select branches of State Bank of India, IDBI bank, Axis Bank, HDFC bank, Central Bank of India, ICICI, and Union Bank Of India. The brochure is also available on the DDA website — www.dda.org.in.