500-sqft house plan for slum dwellers impractical: Activists, builders

Updated on Nov 30, 2019 06:02 AM IST
HT Image
HT Image
By, Mumbai

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

  • The survey was conducted by a team of 60 volunteers, which collated responses from 1,198 youths in the age group of 18 to 25 years (REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE)

    Smoking, drinking alcohol not ‘bad’: 63% youth surveyed

    A public survey carried out by Sir Parshurambhau college titled 'Perceptions and Patterns of Substance Consumption' has revealed that 63% of the respondents did not perceive smoking and drinking alcohol as bad while 51% did not find anything different about smoking during social gatherings. The survey was conducted by a team of 60 volunteers, which collated responses from 1,198 youths in the age group of 18 to 25 years.

  • The monsoon session of Uttar Pradesh legislature would provide an opportunity to the UP government to speak about its achievements. (File pic)

    Monsoon session of Uttar Pradesh legislature likely in September

    The Uttar Pradesh government is contemplating a move to convene the monsoon session of the state legislature in September. The government may use the opportunity to carry out legislative business and speak about its achievements in the first 100 days of the Yogi government 2.0. The state legislature's budget session ended on May 31.

  • The incident took place between July 18 and 19 in Gokulnagar, Kondhwa. (REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)

    Two in cargo theft racket held with home appliance worth 23 lakh

    The Kondhwa police busted a well organised interstate cargo theft racket involved in stealing costly home appliances from loaded in cargo trucks, said officials on Wednesday. The accused have been identified as Shravanlal Vishnaram Choudhari (30) and Rajuram Kushalram Chaudhari (32) both from Rajashthan. They were arrested from Pisoli on August 4. The incident took place between July 18 and 19 in Gokulnagar, Kondhwa.

  • Around 7500 citizens along with members of Ekata Manch and other NGOs participate in a huge rally celebrating Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav, commemorating the 75th anniversary of India's Independence and also felicitating the Covid-19 warriors, the unsung heroes, and from various essential sectors for their services during the pandemic, at Children Welfare Centre High School, Yari Road, Versova, in Mumbai, India, on Wednesday. (Vijay Bate/HT Photo)

    City logs 852 new Covid cases, highest single-day spike since July 2

    Mumbai: The city witnessed the highest single-day spike in Covid-19 cases on Wednesday by logging 852 new infections since July 2, when cases were 811. A recent BMC report also shows that the city reported 218 malaria cases, 13 leptospirosis cases, 27 dengue cases and 80 swine flu cases in the first week of August. In July, the city reported 563 malaria cases, 65 leptospirosis cases, 61 dengue cases and 105 swine flu cases.

  • According to police officials, a case regarding fake army recruitment scam was registered in Pathankot and Punjab police arrested one person. (REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)

    Pune police arrest one in fake army recruitment scam operated from Pathankot

    Following an input from the army intelligence agencies, the Pune police, in a joint operation with the army intelligence and Punjab police arrested a 55-year-old autorickshaw driver for allegedly posing as a colonel and duping several Army job aspirants, from Pathankot, Punjab. The accused, Sanjay Raghunath Sawant (55) a resident of Bopodi was arrested by crime branch unit 4 from Pimple Gurav area of Pune city on Tuesday evening.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, August 10, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now