With only 2,500 houses — of the 4 lakh promised — to be ready by March 2012, the state government’s rental housing scheme seems to have failed miserably.
Under the 2008 scheme, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority had planned to build 5 lakh rental houses in five years for low and middle-income groups in Thane and Raigad district. However, as per the annual report submitted by the MMRDA to the chief minister, so far, 29,263 houses are under-construction of which only 2,500 houses will be ready by year-end.
Contrary to the target of 5 lakh houses by 2013, the remaining 26,763 houses, too, will be ready only in 2015. “Work on 15 sites is underway. Nearly 2,500 houses will be ready by March 2012,” the MMRDA’s report stated.
The MMRDA was to give extra FSI for commercial exploitation to private developers who assist in the project. After the scheme was announced, the authority received 215 proposals for building 9.08 lakh houses. While 41 applicants who had promised to build 2.56 lakh houses backed out, 36 applicants who were to build 2.49 lakh houses were found to be ineligible. Of the valid and interested 138 applications, MMRDA gave location clearance to 50 applicants to construct 2.55 lakh houses. The remaining 88 applications are being processed by the MMRDA for the last three years.
Of the 50 cleared, only 38 are still interested while the remaining have backed out. Of those interested, only 17 applicants have got their building plans cleared by the Thane and Ratnagiri urban local bodies.
The project is stuck as real estate developers feel that the scheme is not lucrative. While most of them are unwilling to build rental houses, even those who have promised to make their commercial ventures more viable have not begun work owing to the real estate slump. Some developers have backed out of the project.
“Despite it being a scheme by the MMRDA, developers are required to seek clearance from various urban bodies. The process, coupled with bureaucratic delays, is hampering the progress,” said a developer who has applied under the scheme.
Following the poor response to the scheme, the state had appointed a committee headed by metropolitan commissioner Rahul Asthana to evaluate the scheme. The committee had proposed various recommendations (see box), which are yet to receive CM’s nod for implementation.