Already facing the brunt of exorbitant realty rates, homebuyers who pinned their hopes on the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) lottery for affordable houses are a disappointed lot.
Mhada has put just 1,259 houses for sale instead of the promised 3,000 and a majority of them are exorbitantly priced, with prices reaching up to Rs15,289 per square feet.
Take, for instance, 492 flats at Tunga, Powai that measure 492 square feet and are priced at Rs75.22 lakh (Rs15,289 per square feet) while flats at Shimpoli, measuring 476 square feet, are priced at Rs71.41 lakh (Rs15,002 per square foot).
Mhada has announced it will hold the lottery on May 31. This time, buyers will be able to take up the online payment facility available from May 6 through Axis Bank.
Homebuyers are upset with the prices. “The prices are simply ridiculous,” said Sachin Gala, a tenant in a house at Dadar. Siddhant Kumar, a freelance writer also agreed, adding, “For us, Mhada is the only hope as we are tired of waiting for private builders to reduce prices.”
Housing activists have also condemned the process. “Mhada is behaving like a builder and it seems that commercial considerations have taken over the social cause,” activist Mohammad Arshad said.
These apartments are located in place such as Sion, Charkop, Magathane, Borivli, Malad, Kurla, Shimpoli, Powai, Kandivli and Dahisar.
However Mhada has defended the prices. “We are charging on carpet area, unlike private builders and our prices are still low as compared to them,” said Niranjan Sudhanshu, chief officer, Mhada (Mumbai Board).
He added that the plot in Powai was reserved for a training institute and housed a hill. “We will have to construct a training institute and have incurred a heavy cost for levelling the hill. This is why the rates of the homes are higher.
This year, there will be 584 homes for the High Income Group (monthly income more than Rs40,000), 357 for the Middle Income Group (monthly income in the range of Rs20,000-Rs 40,000), 96 for the Low Income Group (monthly income in the range of Rs8000- Rs20,000) and 222 for the Economical Weaker Section (less than Rs8,000 monthly).