MHADA seeks land for housing for poor

Written by Prachi Karnik Pradhan | Mumbai, Aug 14 | Updated: Aug 15 2007, 04:46am hrs
Providing 12-lakh affordable housing to the economically weaker sections (EWS) of the society in Mumbai will be a herculean task for the Maharashtra government, but it is possible that the land is made available, according to the newly appointed vice-president of the state-run Maharashtra Housing Area Development Authority (MHADA), T Chandrashekhar.

In his maiden interview with the FE, Chandrashekhar brushed aside the recent controversy over the redevelopment of the Dharavi project as the result of a misinformation campaign. He said the MHADA would carry out series of awareness campaigns, including public meetings, use of posters and banners explaining the project in detail to eventually assuage fears and assure the residents that they would not lose anything but gain from the project. He added the second phase of bidding for the Dharavi project would begin on Sept 1.

Our target is to construct at least 1 lakh homes (for the economically weaker sections) annually. As per the draft on housing policy, the state government would aim at delivering low-cost housing, decongesting Mumbai and implementing consumer-protection measures. The government proposes to build 8 lakh homes for lower and middle-income groups over the next three years.

Chandrashekhars statement comes at a time when the state government has tabled the draft housing policy in the recently concluded monsoon session of the state legislature.

However, Chandrashekhar noted that scarcity of land to carry out construction is one of the major hurdles in expediting the work. To resolve the land issue, we have requested the state government to hand over the excess land procured under the Urban Land Ceiling Act, he added.

The state government could not push through the resolution seeking the repeal of Urban Land Ceiling Act in the monsoon session following strong opposition from the Shiv Sena as well as non-government organisations. The government plans to take up the matter again in the winter session. On the state governments ambitious Rs 9,300-crore Dharavi Redevelopment Project, Chandrashekhar said as a special officer he would pay attention on its timely implementation.