State’s rental housing scheme put off to Dec 2012 | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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State’s rental housing scheme put off to Dec 2012

mumbai Updated: Feb 05, 2011 01:06 IST
Zeeshan Shaikh

If you were planning to shift into one of the flats available under the state government’s ambitious rental housing scheme, your wait has got longer.

The rental housing project scheme would be operational by December 2012, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) announced in its recently released budget.

The agency, which claimed to build five lakh flats in five years under the scheme, has till date cleared only 2.5 lakh flats because of lack of interest among private developers.

“Many projects are stuck in the clearance stage at the local self-government agencies’ level. But we are sure that these impediments will be cleared and rental houses will be a reality soon,” said chief secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad, who also heads MMRDA.

The ambitious project, which was launched by the MMRDA in 2008, was touted as the panacea to the city’s housing problem that aimed at reducing slums. Under this scheme, flats would be rented out to only bonafide Maharashtrians for as low as Rs 800 a month.

The plan was to construct nearly 5 lakh rental houses for low-income and middle-income residents over five years.

But till date, the agency has given 39 clearances to various builders to construct nearly 2.58 lakh rental houses across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). And of these, work has begun only at five places, which means only 11,000 houses will be constructed.

Dhanashree Developers was the first builder who had evinced interest in building 10,115 rental houses at Tiwri village in Vasai. A letter of intent was handed over to the developer in November 2008, but work on the project is yet to take off.

Under the present rules for rental housing in the MMR region, the state government has promised builders a floor space index (FSI) of four provided they reserve an FSI of one for rental housing and give those flats for free to the state. This rule is also applicable to areas outside Mumbai.

Lured by the increased FSI, builders had jumped at the opportunity to make their commercial ventures more viable. But with the real estate downturn and the lack of interest among buyers to move to far-off places forced builders to go slow on their rental housing projects.

Moreover, the agency has still not formulated a policy on how it will select tenants and for how long will they be allowed to stay in those houses.