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Budget homes, but priority to Marathis

The Maharashtrian Builders’ Association decides to construct budget flats priced at Rs 10 lakh — and give first preference to Maharashtrian buyers, reports G Mohiuddin Jeddy.

india Updated: Jan 18, 2008 01:47 IST
G Mohiuddin Jeddy

There's some really good news for the Marathi manoos.

The Maharashtrian Builders’ Association has decided to construct budget flats priced at Rs 10 lakh — and give first preference to Maharashtrian buyers.

And, the flats will be built in Navi Mumbai, one of the fastest developing real-estate sectors in the region.

Formed a month ago, the Association comprises 104 members and aims to protect the interests of Maharashtrian builders, who are in a minority in the real-estate industry.

According to the association, escalating property prices are driving the middle-class Maharashtrian out of the city. The scheme is its attempt to offer an affordable option.

“Prices in Navi Mumbai are going for over Rs 1 crore. Even the smallest ones now cost over Rs 30 lakh,” said association President Suresh Haware, who heads Haware Builders. “In such a scenario, where will the Maharashtrians, who are predominantly working middle-class, go?”

The association has decided that its members will buy land in areas around Navi Mumbai and construct small flats worth Rs 10 lakh each. “We will also try to get land at concessional rates from CIDCO. We have asked CIDCO to sell its flats in the proposed housing scheme at (Kharghar) at a lower rate,” Haware said.

He added that, as per the last City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) survey, 62 per cent of the city’s population is Marathi speaking. “Obviously, all these people need houses,” he said.

Not everyone is happy with the decision. Several members of the builders’ community in Navi Mumbai say the decision is impractical and contradicts the spirit of the booming town.

“Budget flats in Navi Mumbai would be possible if townships were built,” said Nalin Shah of Shah Group. “Then, you can have flats for people of various economic strata. But you can’t divide this section on the basis of region or religion.”

The association will not stop others from buying the budget flats. “But priority will be given to Maharashtrians,” said Haware.