The state’s ambitious plan of building 2 lakh rental houses for low and middle income groups by end 2009 has just inched out of the drawing board.
Four months after the three sanctioned builders were given their letters of intent for building for the first set of 75,000 houses, work has begun just for 6,000 houses.
This means, just 3 per cent of the original number of flats planned may be ready by the deadline.
The reason behind the slow pace of work by builders is reportedly the stock market slump.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) had signed agreements with three builders — Dhanashree Builders for 35,000 tenements at Tiwri village, Nirmal Lifestyle for 34,000 tenements at Dombivli and Tanaji Malasure City for 6,000 tenements at Karjat.
The timeframe set for these projects was 12-15 months from the start of construction.
However, Dhanashree Builders and Nirmal Lifestyle are yet to begin work, while Tanaji Malasure City set a target of 3,000 houses by March — the construction of these houses had begun before the project was announced. TMC plans to build another 3,000 houses by year-end.
Metropolitan Commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad had planned to construct 2 lakh rental houses by 2009.
The government has assured builders a Floor Space Index (FSI) of four, provided they reserved an FSI of one for rental housing and handed over those flats free of cost to the government. The rule is, however, applicable to plots outside Mumbai.
Builders, attracted by the high FSI, had jumped into the bandwagon. However with the real estate downturn, they were now going slow on their projects, but refused to admit it.
“We are just tying up some loose ends. We hope to start the project soon,” said S Borkar, president, Dhanshree Developers.
MMRDA officials gave other reasons for the delay. “Work has not yet started because the reworked Government Resolution of the government came in November,” said MMRDA Spokesperson Dilip Kawathkar.
Officials added that they would achieve the target of 1 lakh houses by 2009, a climb-down from Gaikwad’s assurance of 2 lakh houses.
“We have received 13 proposals from interested parties for building rental housing projects,” Kawathkar added.