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New lottery for 5,000 houses

mumbai Updated: Oct 29, 2009 01:51 IST
Naresh Kamath/Urvi Mahajani
Highlight Story

The city’s Great Low-Cost Housing Lottery is back — in an improved version.

The Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) is working to bring a fresh lot of 4,000 to 5,000 subsidised houses — again by draw of lottery — on the market this December.

And this time, MHADA will return unsuccessful applicants’ money by electronically crediting their bank accounts, within 24 hours of the results being announced — unlike its last such auction, when those who didn’t draw the lucky numbers had cheques couriered to them.

The new lot of houses is located in places like Mankhurd, Gorai, Magathane, Malad-Malvani, Sion, Ghatkopar and Versova. Speaking to Hindustan Times, Gautam Chaterjee, vice-president, MHADA, said the board plans to construct a minimum of 5,000 houses every year.

“Our houses get tremendous response, and we are committed to offering good quality subsidised homes,” said Chaterjee.

In Mumbai, where real-estate prices are among

the highest in the world, MHADA’s subsidised houses always attract lakhs of

applicants, which the housing board whittles down to a few fortunate thousands using a lottery system.

In January, 4.34 lakh people applied for 3,863 low-cost MHADA flats, using a computerised lottery system.

However, MHADA’s plan of allowing people to fill forms online this year, will not materialise. “That will take at least another six months to complete as the tenders for the system have not been invited yet, so we’re sticking to the old manual method of filling forms,” said Chaterjee.

This time, though, applicants will need to specify their bank account numbers, and MHADA will refund money to unsuccessful applicants by the Electronic Clearance System, which will directly credit the applicant’s account within 24 hours of the results being announced.

Flat scheme challenged in SC

A Special Leave Petition (SLP) has been filed with the Supreme Court against flat allotments made by Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada), through a lottery system.

Gayasingh Yadav (80), ex-servicemen, has approached the Supreme Court after the Bombay High Court had dismissed his petition, allowing Mhada to hand over possession of the 3,853 flats.

In July, Yadav filed a public interest litigation (PIL) alleging that the software used for flat allotments through the lottery system was faulty. The high court initially ordered a stay on the allotments. But after Mhada executives assured that the applications had been thoroughly scrutinised, the stay was vacated. The order prompted Yadav to approach the Supreme Court. The SLP is likely to come up for hearing next week.

“Mhada’s attitude shows no respect to the report by Comptroller and Auditor General which had slammed the system used by the housing authority in 2006 and 2007 for lottery, Mhada has used the same system for allotting flats through lottery this year,” said Ahmed Abdi, Yadav’s lawyer.

Yadav’s PIL in the high court also suggested that Mhada should take help from National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM — premier trade body and the chamber of commerce of the IT-BPO industries in India) for framing guidelines for the lottery system software.

Anticipating an SLP by Yadav, Mhada had already filed a caveat in the Supreme Court last week seeking that no orders should be passed on the matter without hearing their arguments.

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