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MMRDA’s project for rental homes stuck

Planning authority had plans to build 1 lakh rental homes by end of 2009, but work has begun only in five places for 11,000 houses.

mumbai Updated: Nov 17, 2010 01:49 IST
Zeeshan Shaikh

To ease housing woes of the middle-class, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) had with much fanfare launched its rental housing project in Mumbai.

But, two years on, the scheme has still not yielded any results.

The authority had planned to construct 5 lakh rental homes over a period of five years, with 1 lakh homes being made available by end of 2009.

However, till date work has begun only on 11,000 homes and it is likely to be completed by 2011.

“The projects were initially stalled due to the realty slump. There were also a lot of technical impediments in the projects, which are being sorted out,” said metropolitan commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad.

The rental housing project was touted as the panacea to housing problems in the suburbs and was launched in 2008 with plans of constructing homes for low and moderate-income citizens.

The MMRDA, till date, has given 39 clearances to various builders to build about 2.58 lakh rental homes across the Mumbai metropolitan region (MMR), however, work has begun only in five places, which adds up to only 11,000 homes.

Dhanashree Developers was the first private builder who had evinced interest in building 10,115 rental houses in Tiwri village in Vasai.

A letter of intent was handed over to Dhanashree Developers in November 2008. Work on the project, however, is still to begin.

Builders claimed that the real estate slump and lack of interest by investors in these projects, which are far away from Mumbai, are making them unviable.

“There have been numerous bureaucratic delays in getting clearances for the project. We are also facing problems in making these projects viable. MMRDA, which had promised improved infrastructure to these areas, has still not done so,” said a builder, who is building these rental houses for MMRDA.

Under the present regulations for rental housing in the MMR region, the government has assured builders an FSI of four provided they reserve an FSI of one for rental housing and hand those flats free of cost to the state government. This rule, however, is applicable to areas outside Mumbai.

MMRDA has said that it would help in improving the infrastructure of these areas making them livable.

Builders attracted by the increased FSI have jumped into the rental housing bandwagon in an attempt to make their commercial ventures more viable.

But, with the real estate downturn and the lack of buyers, builders are going slow on their rental housing projects.