Flat winners asked to shell out Rs 15 lakh more
Six months after winning their dream homes in Powai through the Maharashtra Housing Area and Development Authority (Mhada) lottery, 110 buyers were in for a rude shock this month when the housing agency asked them to cough up an additional Rs 15 lakh in 90 days or lose their apartments.mumbai Updated: Aug 09, 2012 01:32 IST
Six months after winning their dream homes in Powai through the Maharashtra Housing Area and Development Authority (Mhada) lottery, 110 buyers were in for a rude shock this month when the housing agency asked them to cough up an additional Rs 15 lakh in 90 days or lose their apartments.
In a first, Mhada has revised the price of its flats from Rs 34.75 lakh to Rs 50 lakh, an increase of 44%, for its high-income group homes in Powai allotted through lottery in 2011.
Mhada has sent letters to these beneficiaries this month demanding the additional amount within three months, and that they stand to lose their flats if they fail to pay within the stipulated period.
The letter mentions escalation in the contractors’ bill and an increase in the base price as the reasons for the hike. However, the flat owners say that they are facing the brunt of miscalculation on part the part of the housing agency.
A group of around 107 buyers have banded together and are exploring legal options to challenge the hike.
“If Mhada had to revise the price, what took them six months to do it? Mhada cannot just ask us to pay abruptly. How is it possible to arrange this much money in 90 days,” asked a flat winner who did not wish to be quoted. The authority’s move flies in the face of the recent Housing Regulatory Bill, which has provisions against such arbitrary cost escalations.
Niranjan Kumar Sudhansu, chief officer of Mhada’s Mumbai Board, said, “We are discussing increasing the time limit from three to six months. However, nothing has been decided as of now as the discussion is still in its initial stage.”
He added that the agency is well within its rights to make such cost escalations, and it is a part of the agreement signed with the flat owners.
Sachin Ahir, minister of state for home said he was unhappy with the decision. “I feel Mhada should not have charged extra, but the law permits them. I had called for the report, and have asked Mhada to give more time to the buyers to pay” he said.
For many owners, an extension will not bring any relief. A flat owner said: “I have already taken the loan and had made full payment [to Mhada] in January. No bank is going to give me another home loan for a year, and Rs15 lakh is too huge an amount to arrange without a loan.”