In a bid to offer affordable housing in Mumbai, where real estate has touched unattainable heights, the panel appointed by chief minister Prtihviraj Chavan to review the rental housing scheme has recommended that the state convert the rental flats into low-cost homes.
The recommendations of the panel will be submitted to Chavan and the urban development department after Diwali, following which the CM is likely to announce a new housing policy.
The committee has not specified what it means by affordable homes. The Mumbai Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) sold a 225 sq ft flat in Mankhurd meant for the economically weaker sections for Rs 4 lakh in this year’s lottery.
The committee has also recommended that the size of these tenements be increased to 269 sq ft from the current 160 sq ft.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) had launched the rental housing scheme in 2008. It aimed to create five lakh rental houses in five years. However, the scheme has evoked poor response from builders, and three years after its launch, the MMRDA has cleared applications for only 2.58 lakh homes. Of these, 11,000 flats are in various stages of completion in areas such as Panvel and Kalyan.
A worried CM set up a committee in August, led by MMRDA commissioner Rahul Asthana and Mhada CEO Satish Gavai, along with other officers, to study the scheme. Last week, the committee prepared a list of recommendations.
“We have suggested that the houses be sold as affordable houses rather than under the rental housing project,” a committee member said, requesting anonymity. “There could be rental homes, but the bulk should be affordable houses.”
“It is also not feasible to cramp people in such a small space, so we have suggested that the area of the houses be increased,” the official added.
The committee has recommended that the state not create vertical slums. Under the rental scheme, builders are eligible to get a Floor Space Index (FSI) of 4, provided they set aside an FSI of 1 for the rental housing scheme.
FSI is the ratio of permissible built-up area to the size of the plot it is built on.
Instead of offering an FSI of 4, builders should have the flexibility of building less if they find it commercially viable, the committee said.