Alarmed at the lacklustre response to its ambitious rental housing scheme, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) plans to seek help from consultants.
“We are looking for consultants who will help us supervise the rental housing projects and provide corrective action to the policy, if necessary,” said PR Dilip Kawathkar, joint project director, MMRDA.
In 2008, the MMRDA had launched the rental housing scheme, which was touted as the panacea to the city’s housing problem. The scheme aimed to create five lakh homes in the next five years, largely on the outskirts of Mumbai.
Under this scheme, 160 sq ft flats would be rented out to only bonafide Maharashtrians earning up to Rs5,000 a month for as low as Rs800 per month.
Till date, the agency has given 50 clearances to various builders to construct nearly 2.5 lakh rental houses across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). Of these, work has begun only at five places, which means only 11,000 houses are under construction.
Most of the projects are stuck because the local urban bodies have not given permission to the builder to start the project.
Dhanashree Developers were the first private builders who had evinced interest in constructing 10,115 rental houses in Tiwri village in Vasai. A letter of intent was handed over to Dhanashree Developers in November 2008, but work is yet to start because of issues with the local urban bodies.
“Our main endeavour in appointing the consultant is that they will help us obtain sanctions and permissions from other government bodies and help us address legal and planning aspects to ensure implementation of the scheme,” said a senior MMRDA official, on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to talk to the media.
Last month, the MMRDA was also contemplating selling or leasing out the flats that have been built under an affordable housing programme.
Under the present regulations for rental housing in the MMR region, the state government has assured builders floor space index (FSI) of four provided they reserve an FSI of one for rental housing and hand over those flats for free to the government. This rule was applicable to areas outside Mumbai.