The state’s plans of providing low-cost housing has suffered a setback as it cancelled tenders worth Rs3,612 crore floated by Mhada, to construct 33,510 houses under the PMAY (Prime Minister’s Awas Yojana) for the economically backward people.
The decision was taken after it was discovered that the conditions incorporated in the tenders were tweaked to favour a particular contractor.
According to state government officials, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis was unhappy with the manner in which the entire matter was being handled. “The tenders were clearly in favour of a particular contractor. It included conditions such as priority would be given those who have worked on mass housing. This excluded many reputed construction firms,” said the official who did not wish to come on record. “Fadnavis wants to avoid any controversy and favours competition among the various builders,” he added.
The housing projects were planned in Vasai, Kalyan, Karjat, Thane, Khalapur and Raigad. The government was keen to pursue the scheme as it has two major civic elections coming up both in Mumbai and Thane and affordable housing is one of the core issues for residents in both these cities.
The cancelled tender gave more weightage to companied that have undertaken public housing projects in the past and use precast technology. In four plots — two in Vasai, and one each in Karjat and Khalapur — these are reportedly located in green zones, that are yet to be acquired by Mhada.
Affordable housing is one of Fadnavis’ pet subjects as it wants to fulfil the Central’s government aim of housing for all by 2022. It has outlined various features like obtaining land from various government sources, incentives for developers building affordable houses as well as opening the salt pan lands.