Distressed by slowing property sales, the Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI) has requested the state government to speed up approval process especially for affordable housing projects.
With the realty market in a slump, developers are once again turning to affordable housing projects that have a greater demand against luxury projects. Luxury projects witness a good absorption rate only during a realty boom. Chamber representatives met Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and asked the state government to come up with a policy framework for the creation of affordable housing projects soon.
In April 2010, the MCHI had inked a deal with the Ashok Chavan government for generating 5 lakh affordable houses in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) over five years. Two years on, the government still does not have a policy for the creation of affordable houses. Even a Central government policy mandating developers to reserve an additional 20 per cent houses on their plots for the sake of public housing has been put on hold for the time being.
A senior state government official said following the interaction with the chief minister, the government will soon call for a meeting to discuss the problems with regards to rental housing projects. “We will also convene a meeting to decide on speedy building permissions process. The association has also been asking the government to raise the height of buildings requiring permission from the high-rise committee from the existing 70 m to 120 m. The rationale behind their request will have to be looked into before taking any decision,” said the official.
Other issues discussed include 600-odd proposals pending before the State-Level Expert Appraisal Committee and easier civil aviation clearance. “We have asked that there should be a 60-day building permission approval system in case of all urban local bodies in Maharashtra. The CM has promised to look into all these issues over the next few months,” said Paras Gundecha, president, MCHI. The MCHI said that if the urban local bodies fail to give approval within 90 days, there has to be a provision for appeal to a panel formed for this purpose.
“Under the existing rules, there is a provision for deemed permission if the building permissions aren’t granted within 60 days. But developers do not opt for it as banks refuse to sanction loans unless permission is obtained in written,” the official said.
Apply online for MHADA houses from today
The Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) will on Thursday start its online application process for sale of 2,593 houses as part of its annual draw for affordable homes.
However, the number of houses has dropped to merely a fourth of those available in the preceding years. This year, the Mumbai Board of MHADA has 867 homes within the municipal limits of Mumbai. The remaining 1,726 houses have been constructed by the Konkan board in Mira Road area, for the economically weaker sections (EWS) and low income groups (LIG).
“Forms completely filled will be accepted on the MHADA website till May 24 and the draw will be held on May 31,” said a MHADA official. Of the houses available in Mumbai, 461 houses in Charkop (Kandivli), Malvani (Malad) and Vinobha Bhave Nagar (Kurla) are reserved for LIG, 234 apartments in Kurla, Sion and Kandivli for middle income group (MIG) and 172 houses in Powai as well as Gorai and Magathane in Borivli for high income group (HIG). As per revised MHADA rules, those drawing a basic salary of Rs 8,000 are categorised as EWS, between Rs 8,000 and Rs 20,000 as LIG, between Rs 20,000 and Rs 40,000 as MIG and above Rs 40,000 as HIG.
Officials said the number of houses available in subsequent years are expected to drop further with the housing authority left with only two hectares of land. MHADA had made it compulsory for builders redeveloping the existing 105 MHADA colonies to hand over a certain percentage of reconstructed flats to the housing board instead of paying a premium. However, following protests from builders, officials admit that they may have to tweak the policy.