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Where are promised 1 lakh homes?

Real estate slump affects state’s rental housing scheme; of the eight projects, work has started only on 6,000 flats at Karjat, reports Zeeshan Shaikh.

india Updated: Jun 03, 2009 01:54 IST
Zeeshan Shaikh

If you were waiting to rent a 160 sq ft home for just Rs 800 a month from the state government, your wait just got longer.

Launched in 2008 with much fanfare, the state’s rental housing scheme was touted as the panacea to the city’s housing and encroachment problems.

But the plan to build 5 lakh rental houses in five years for low and middle-income groups over five years has run into rough weather.

Firstly most builders are not ready to build rental houses and even those jumped into the rental housing bandwagon to make their commercial ventures more viable have not started work because of the real estate slump.

Nine months after the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) issued letters of intent for construction of the first 75,000 houses, work has started only on 6,000.

“The projects have been delayed due to the real estate slump and delay in clearances. However, we are confident of completing and providing rental houses in the city,” said Ratnakar Gaikwad, metropolitan commissioner.

The MMRDA had received proposals from eight developers to build 1.04 lakh rental homes — the latest being Housing Development & Infrastructure Ltd to construct 43,000 rental houses in its township at Vasai-Virar, where 1.33 lakh flats are coming up.

But of the eight projects, work on 6,000 rental homes has started only at Tanaji Malasure City in Karjat.

In fact, this project had started before the MMRDA had announced the scheme. But the builder volunteered to construct rental homes to make his project profitable and get extra Floor Space Index (FSI).

As per the norms for rental housing in the city, the state government has assured builders an FSI of 4 provided they reserve an FSI of 1 for rental housing and hand over the flats to the government for free. However, this rule is applicable to areas outside the city but in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region limits.

FSI is an indicator of how high a developer can build on a plot. The higher the FSI, the more floors developers are allowed to build.

In November 2008, Dhanashree Developers, the first private builder to evince interest in constructing 10,115 rental homes in Vasai’s Tiwri village, were given a letter of intent. But work on the project has not yet begun.

“Our project has been stuck due to various bureaucratic delays and seeking clearances for the project. We will start the project soon,” said S. Borkar, president of Dhanshree Developers.