Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday announced the formation of two committees to expedite the process to hand over low-cost homes to mill workers.
The first committee, comprising ministers and mill workers, will finalise the sale price for the 16,000-odd homes, some of which are ready. The committee will have seven days to fix this price. "We have 6,000-odd homes that are ready and another 9,000 that can be constructed on available land," Chavan said on Tuesday.
As many as 1.48 lakh families, comprising 1.26 lakh mill workers and 22,701 heirs of mill workers, have applied for the 6,948 homes which are ready to be occupied. "I still do not have [solutions] for housing the remaining 1.32 lakh families," Chavan said.
The CM said the average sale price for the 6,000 available houses had been fixed at Rs8.43 lakh. The committee will see if this price can be reduced. "[The committee] will also look at new rates for the 9,000 homes, which are to be constructed," said Chavan in the legislative council.
The other committee, Chavan said, will scout for land in the Mumbai metropolitan region (MMR) and Navi Mumbai for housing the remaining 1.32 lakh families. This committee is likely to give its feedback by the end of the ongoing session of the legislature.
The discussion took place after the Opposition raised the issue following a demonstration by mill workers at the Azad Maidan on Tuesday. "The rate can be cut if the contractors' taxes, construction taxes and other duties are waived," said Vinod Tawde, leader of opposition.
Shiv Sena legislator Diwakar Raote stuck to the Sena demand of giving homes free to the mill workers. "When money is available for every other thing, why not for mill workers," Raote asked.
Chavan added that the government would also check if houses can be provided to mill workers through the 'Rajiv Awaas Yojana', where 50% funds come from the Centre.