Every year, lakhs of applicants keep their fingers crossed, hoping to win the Maharashtra Housing And Development Authority (Mhada) housing lottery that will make it possible for them to own a flat in Mumbai.
However, MPs, MLAs and MLCs don’t seem interested in owning Mhada’s affordable flats, with just 30 of them applying for the 78 apartments reserved for them this year.
On Tuesday, the lottery for the 4,034 Mhada flats put on the block this year will be held at the Rangasharda hall in Bandra Reclamation. “If, due to any reason, there has been no response from public representatives, these flats should be allotted to the other applicants,” said Alwyn Das, Mhada board member and NCP leader.
Only 51% of the flats are open to the public; the remaining 49% is reserved for various categories, including a 2% reservation for public representatives.
Mhada officials are discussing what to do with the 48 flats reserved for public representatives, which includes both former and current MPs, MLAs and MLCs.
“We are still to take a call on whether to keep the flats aside or include them in the common pool,” said a senior Mhada official, on condition of anonymity.
The Mhada houses are scattered across 16 locations in the city, and there have been no applications from public representatives for five of the locations, including areas such as Malvani, Kurla and Mankhurd. The only place for which there will be a draw in the public representatives category is upmarket Powai, where there are 18 applicants for two flats.
Activists argue that it’s time for the 2% quota to be scrapped. “Public representatives have a host of facilities at their disposal and do not deserve the houses,” said Vinod Sampat, housing activist and advocate.
“The common people desperately need houses as they are fully dependent on Mhada because of the exorbitant rates private builders charge for flats.”