When the state launched its affordable rental housing scheme in 2008, it declared that 5 lakh houses would be constructed for the low and middle income groups by 2013.
However, four years later, only 29,263 houses are under construction, of which only 2,500 houses are to expected be completed this year, as per the annual report submitted by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to the chief minister. The remaining 26,763 houses will be ready only in 2015, it is learnt.
MMRDA in 2008 announced plans of building five lakh rental houses in five years with the help of private builders who would be given extra FSI for commercial exploitation.
Once the scheme was announced, MMRDA received nearly 215 proposals to build 9.08 lakh houses.
However, 41 applicants, who had promised to build 2.56 lakh houses, backed out. Another 36 applicants, who had promised to build 2.49 lakh houses, were found ineligible. Of the valid and interested 138 applications, MMRDA granted locational clearance to 50 applications to build around 2.55 lakh houses. The remaining applications are still being processed.
Of the 50 applications for 88,000 houses which have received locational clearance, 38 are still valid, while the remaining have backed out. However, of the 38, only 17 proposals have got their building plans cleared from the Thane and Ratnagiri Urban Local Bodies where the projects are located.
Interestingly, after the poor response, the state was forced to relook at the scheme and appointed a committee headed by Metropolitan Commissioner Rahul Asthana to conduct a review.
The committee had proposed various recommendations, including increasing the size of the houses from 160 sq ft to 320 sq ft, and giving more liberty to the builders in planning the project. However, the CM is yet to take a decision on these recommendations.
“The modalities on how we will be distributing these houses are still being worked out,” Asthana said.