These houses were built for the common man who finds homes in the city beyond reach.
Instead, the state government allotted 232 low-cost 3-BHK houses at Versova — a prime real estate belt in Mumbai — to legislators for Rs 42 lakh each when the price of a house here is not less than Rs 1.25 crore.
The Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) had constructed 1,088 houses measuring 700-sq-ft each in Versova. Of these, the state last year allotted 232 to Rajyog Society, a cooperative society floated by legislators, by issuing a special government resolution (GR).
The GR was issued last year but allotments started only last week. The state government even helped legislators get loans.
Kishore Tiwari, president of Jan Andolan Samiti that had objected to the allotments told Hindustan Times, “Mhada houses are constructed for the needy but these legislators abused their powers and got these allotted to themselves.”
At least 134 legislators have taken possession of their homes. At least four of them already own houses in Mumbai according to their affidavits submitted before the 2009 Assembly polls.
The state has justified the allotments saying the legislators’ affidavits are being thoroughly scrutinised. “Last time, many legislators submitted affidavits according to their convenience but this time we have sought information according to the prescribed format,” said Minister of State for Housing Sachin Ahir. “Mhada officials have also warned them saying offering false information will be counter-productive.”
Mhada does not have a mechanism to check whether the information supplied is genuine.
Rajyog Society has been controversial right from its formation. A proposed society is supposed to approach the housing board with its application for land or houses but here the state bent rules and issued a GR reserving flats for legislators.
In March, just before Chief Minister Ashok Chavan handed over the keys of these houses to legislators, it was revealed that many legislators already possessed homes in the city, which is against Mhada’s allotment rules.
Among those whose names were on the list of allottees were Home Minister R.R. Patil, the society’s chief promoter Harshwardhan Patil and legislator Bhai Jagtap. All three, however, claimed they did not want these flats.
The state had ordered Mhada to look into the issue.
Last year, Mhada received at least one lakh applications for low-cost flats but many applicants were disappointed because the computerised lottery draw did not favour them.
“Private builders are fleecing buyers by quoting unrealistic prices and Mhada is the only hope for those wanting decent homes,” real estate lawyer Vinod Sampat said. “Now, legislators too are playing spoilsport.”