Builders slam Thackeray govt’s plan to provide 500-sqft houses to slum dwellers

Published on Nov 29, 2019 11:32 PM IST
HT Image
HT Image

Builders and housing activists have raised doubts over the feasibility of the Uddhav Thackeray-led state government’s promise for bigger, 500-square-foot (sqft) houses for slum dwellers, terming the move impractical.

The new Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, in its Common Minimum Programme (CMP) released on Thursday, announced 500-sqft houses for slum dwellers. Currently, slum dwellers are entitled to 300-sq ft houses.

Anand Gupta, spokesperson Builders Association of India (BAI), said that in the past, whenever such housing projects, promising increased space, have been announced, it has led to stopping of ongoing slum projects. “Such schemes will only encourage the mushrooming of slums as 500-sqft house is a big area in Mumbai…Every builder and slum dweller would want to reap the benefits and it may have a reverse effect,” said Gupta.

Another top builder, who is a committee member of the Maharashtra Chambers of Housing Industry (MCHI), slammed the decision.

“Constructing a building involves not just building apartments, but also other things such as providing open spaces, parking facilities and sewage treatment plants (STP). There will be no space to provide these facilities,” said the builder, who did not wish to be named. He warned that building 500-sqft houses may prove to be dangerous for the existing, already overstretched infrastructure.

Since the CMP announcement on Thursday, residents of chawls and old buildings have been demanding a similar policy for them. Congress legislator from Mumbadevi, Amin Patel, has written a letter to chief minister Thackeray, requesting similar benefits be extended for old buildings and chawls. “These are legal residents and deserve bigger houses. However, we need to undertake a detailed study [to take a decision on this],” said Patel.

For years, successive state governments have been extending deadlines of slum rehabilitation projects and promising larger spaces to slum dwellers to woo them. Earlier, they used to get houses of 180-sqft area, which increased to 300sqft, and now they are being promised 500sqft. Calling it a “gimmick”, housing activist Ramesh Prabhu said the move will slow down the entire revamp process. “Any change in rules will involve tedious procedures which are time-consuming. The government is rewarding the illegal slum dwellers,” said Prabhu.

However, former minister of state (MoS) for housing and top Shiv Sena leader, Ravindra Waikar, defended the CMP announcement. “Times have changed and even slum dwellers want to live a decent life in bigger houses. We can accommodate them in bigger houses and all we need is the will power to do so, which the Sena has,” said Waikar. The SRA (Slum Rehabilitation Authority) scheme, started in 1996, has been mired in corruption scandals and a host of other controversies, such as manipulation of slum dwellers, eligible people not making it to the list, fake consents, misleading promises, and inferior quality construction.

All these issues have slowed down redevelopment work.


    Naresh is a Special Correspondent with Hindustan Times, Mumbai, since 2005. He covers the real estate sector, in addition to doing political reportage.

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • HP chief minister Jai Ram Thakur flagging off a Tiranga rally to commemorate 75 years of Independence from Shimla Railway Station on Sunday. (HT Photo)

    HP cabinet gives nod for setting up 76 model wellness centres

    Himachal Pradesh cabinet has given the nod for setting up 76 model health wellness centres. The state cabinet met on Saturday evening wherein it decided to open patwar circle Spilo in Pooh tehsil of Kinnaur district to facilitate the people of the area. It also decided to create patwar circle Shikroha under Sadar Bilaspur tehsil. It gave its approval to create Kanungo circle Kelodhar under Chachiot tehsil of Mandi district.

  • Farmers in Himachal, where apples account for 13.5% of the state gross domestic product, fear that the opening prices offered by Adani Agri Fresh Limited may impact the fruit’s prices in the local market. (Aqil Khan /Hindustan Times)

    HP apple growers dissatisfied with opening prices announced by Adani

    Sanyukt Kisan Manch, an umbrella organisation of different farmers' unions, have rejected the prices announced by Adani Agri Fresh – a company that imports fruit. Sourced from farmers in Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir. The fruit supply chains in Himachal have announced a marginal increase in the opening price for A-grade premium apples for Rs 76 per kilogram against Rs 72 it offered last year.

  • A gunfight erupted between militants and security forces in Kandra Hill area of Rajouri, officials said on Sunday. (ANI image for representational purpose)

    Gunfight breaks out with terrorists in Rajouri

    A gunfight erupted between militants and security forces in Kandra Hill area of Rajouri, officials said on Sunday. Defence spokesperson Lt Col Devender Anand said, “Today, around 7.30pm, an operational contact was established by troops of Indian Army, Rashtriya Rifles and SOG with terrorists at Kandra Hill in Rajouri.” A senior police officer said that a team of police and army launched a cordon and search operation in Kandra Hill on a specific input.

  • Final touches being given to a multiplex ahead of its opening, in Srinagar on Sunday. (PTI)

    Kashmir’s first multiplex set to open early next monthin Sonawar

    Come September and film aficionados in Kashmir will be able to watch the latest movies on the big screen as the Valley's first multiplex is set to open in the Sonawar area here. The multiplex, being developed in collaboration with leading theatre chain INOX, will have three movie halls with a total capacity of 520 seats, its owner Vijay Dhar told PTI. It will house several food courts, where Dhar plans to promote local cuisine.

  • The Clock Tower at Lal Chowk illuminated on the eve of 75th Independence Day in Srinagar on Sunday. (Waseem Andrabi / Hindustan Times)

    J&K enthusiasm breaking all records: LG Manoj Sinha on Har Ghar Tiranga drive

    A walkathon was organised on the banks of Dal Lake in Srinagar on Sunday in which Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, along with many senior civil, security officials and hundreds of security personnel, besides people marched holding Tricolour in hands. The walkathon, a part of the 'Har Ghar Tiranga' campaign, was organised by the Border Security Force from the Lalit Ghat to the Botanical Garden.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, August 15, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now