The state housing board is not happy. Though it put up 4,034 affordable flats on the block this year, it received a lukewarm response with just 1.40 lakh applications.
This calculates to 35 applicants vying for one apartment, which is very less compared to last year’s draw when 95 applicants competed for one flat.
In 2010, the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) had received 3.28 lakh applications for 3,449 homes.
In 2009, there were 4.30 lakh applicants in race for 3,863 apartments — an average of 111 applicants competing for one flat. Even in 2008, there were at least 75 applicants for each of the 870 flats put on the block.
Blamed the administration for its “half-hearted attempt” to conduct the lottery process, Allwyn Das, a board member, said: “The online application process was a disaster as it had many glitches and even educated people found it difficult to access.”
Housing activists agree. “A majority of people are not net savvy, which dissuaded many applicants,” said Shreedhar Sharma, president of Ravathy Foundation, which deals with housing issues. He added that accepting applications online was a welcome move provided corresponding infrastructure such as help centers are set up.
Das demanded that the date for applications be extended so that more people can participate in the housing lottery.
But Mhada board member Virendra Upadhyaya dismissed the allegations.
“Modern technology is the need of hour and hence the online method was adopted. Since it was the first time, there were bound to be some difficulties, but blaming the online process alone would be unfair,” Upadhyaya said.
Another factor that resulted in the dip in applications was that this time Mhada has increased the size of flats, which subsequently led to an increase in the prices. A flat that was available for Rs 4 lakh now costs Rs7 lakh, burdening homebuyers.