A 2010 amendment to Mhada’s redevelopment rules is now being opposed by both political parties and builders.
Two years ago, Mhada’s Mumbai board, led by Amarjit Singh Manhas, took stock of the agency’s shrinking land stock and decided that some of the new houses built in Mhada colonies should be handed over to the agency. Earlier, builders would pay a premium (25% of the flat price according to ready reckoner rates) and sell the flat on the open market. This practice was stopped by Mhada on grounds that creating low-cost homes was the top priority of the body.
Members of the Shiv Sena, led by Sena legislator Subhash Desai, have been protesting against this step, saying it is proving a hindrance to the redevelopment of 3,701 buildings, where more than 88,000 tenants live.
“The rule amendment has made the redevelopment unviable and no builder is ready to redevelop Mhada colonies. This has left all the residents helpless,” said Desai. Last week, he led Sena legislators to Mhada headquarters at Bandra to confront its chief, Satish Gawai, about this issue.
Gawai said he could not help much in this matter and referred Desai to the state government.
Builders also support Desai’s demand that this rule be scrapped. “Mhada had good intentions, but redevelopment projects in these colonies are now suffering because of the amendment,” said Anand Gupta, secretary, Builders Association of India, the apex body of the construction industry.
However, Amarjit Manhas defends his decision. “It was taken after a lot of study and thought. Mhada got a pittance as premium from the builders.
The houses we get from the builder redeveloping the property could be sold to those who cannot afford to buy homes from private builders,” he said.
He said that Desai and his colleagues should chalk out an alternative scheme to create housing stock instead of attacking the current one.
Sachin Ahir, minister of state for housing however took a cautious stance. “We have convened a meeting of legislators to discuss the issue. If the builders are wary of redeveloping Mhada colonies because of this rule, we might take steps to make it viable,” Ahir said.