Govt can't force us to build affordable homes: developers

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Nov 21, 2014 22:16 IST

Maharashtra government’s decision making it mandatory for builders to construct affordable houses in projects that exceed 4,000 sqm has not gone down well with Mumbai developers.

The decision, which was first implemented by the previous Congress-NCP government two years ago, made it compulsory for builders working on plots measuring more than 4,000 sqm to reserve 20% of the land for affordable housing.

According to the original policy, these houses would to be handed over to the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada), and the housing agency would then sell them through a computerised lottery system.

However, builders had opposed it then, and got the directive stayed by the court.

But the new BJP government has now amended the policy, to allow builders to construct affordable houses anywhere in the same administrative (civic) ward. The new rules do not apply to redevelopment projects across the city.

“This clause of compulsorily building affordable houses is unfair. We pay exorbitantly to purchase land in the city. It is wrong of the government to force us into this,” said Sunil Mantri, president, National Real Estate Development Council. Mantri said the builders would challenge the directive in court.

According to Paras Gundecha, former president, Maharashtra Chambers of Housing Industry (MCHI), said the move was an unfortunate one.

“All rules are imposed on private builders. State agencies like the Cidco and MMRDA are minting money by auctioning their land at mind-bogging rates. These agencies should ideally be using that land to generate affordable housing, instead of forcing us to do so,” said Gundecha.

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