With realty rates showing no signs of easing, the state government has announced that around 20,000 affordable apartments would be made available within the next two years.
Participating in the discussion on affordable housing organised by the Press Club on Wednesday, Gautam Chatterjee, state housing secretary, announced that the state government would tie up with private builders for this project. “We are hopeful of getting at least 20,000 houses within the next two years,” said Chatterjee. “The notification in this regard has been issued and will come into effect within the next three months.”
This move is significant as the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) currently has barely two acres of land in its kitty and there are indications that it may not hold a housing lottery next year. This year, Mhada has put for sale 4,034 affordable flats across the city at less than half the prices quoted by private builders in those respective areas.
In this new scheme, Mhada will partner with private builders and offer its share of floor space index (FSI) to them. In return, the builder will construct apartments on his part of land and hand it over to Mhada, who would then sell them at low cost through the lottery. There are estimates that 1.5 lakh houses could be created through this ambitious scheme, of which 40,000 alone would be at Ghodbunder Road in Thane.
Builders have also welcomed the scheme.
“We are open to any scheme to provide affordable houses, but all we want in return is expedite sanctions and less red tape,’ said Dharmesh Jain, chairman of Nirmal Lifestyle.
He added that larger volumes could actually reduce realty rates substantially.
Outlining the need of more governmental intervention, activist Neera Adarkar said: “Mhada has done a great work in the housing sector and more such initiatives are needed as a majority of people cannot afford to buy houses from private builders.”