MHADA to Build 50,000 Affordable Homes

The Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) has taken up the responsibility of construction of 50,000 affordable homes. According to housing minister Ravindra Waikar, who submitted the plan to the chief minister for final approval, these will help ease the increasing real estate prices in the region.The proposal and feasibilityWith an endeavour to fulfil the larger objective of 'Housing for All' by 2020, the MHADA plan involves redevelopment of government-owned properties. The total area proposed for redevelopment is 94 acres, which will include redevelopment colonies in locations like Sewri, Naigaon and NM Joshi Marg. As per details in the report, 13,000 housing units will be generated in redevelopment of Worli's BDD Chawls. Going by its past record, the MHADA is expected to successfully implement the project. Commenting on the feasibility of the project, Prabhat Ranjan, CMD, Olympeo Infrastructure Pvt Ltd says, "This move seems feasible considering that MHADA has already delivered homes for two lakh families in the past, and in the new plan has identified development/redevelopment potential of MMR regions. The only concern that remains is the timeline of such development."The benefits"Private development requires huge capital for procuring land banks at major location, thus shooting up the market rates. MHADA, on the other hand, develops government owned properties and thus is able to provide housing at low prices," says Ranjan while explaining the affordable prices of redeveloped colonies.MHADA's objective is to provide bigger and better equipped homes for the economically weaker sections. The redeveloped housing unit will offer existing occupants more than 500 sq ft of built up area. An added advantage is that unlike private developers, the government does not need consent of 70 per cent residents of a colony for the purpose of redevelopment. As for the quality of construction, it will match up to the standards of private developers, the housing minister reassured.Elaborating on the MHADA project's benefits, Prabhat Ranjan says, "Rapid urbanization and migration to cities requires sizable supply of low cost quality home options for lower income and middle income groups. MHADA's plan of building affordable homes is a big boost to the PM's vision of Housing for All by 2020. It will not only address urban poverty but also uplift the quality of living as it plans to focus on eco-friendly features in these homes."The fundingThe housing minister confirmed the availability of sufficient funds for the project. A budget of Rs 1,600 crore has been allocated already in the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA), he confirmed. If required, more funds can be generated from other government bodies.The challengesMs Kruti Jain, Director, Kumar Urban Development Ltd believes that the MHADA plan might face a lot of challenges. She says, "In Mumbai, development of affordable housing faces significant challenges due to several economic, regulatory and urban issues. Amongst the various reasons, the lack of availability of urban land, rising costs of construction and regulatory issues are supply-side constraints, which impact the ability of low-income groups to buy housing in the organized sector." Clearly, there will be a number of hurdles in the implementation of the MHADA plan.