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Maharashtra: Three years on, govt affordable housing target nowhere in sight
The Indian Express  |  October 11, 2018

Sandeep Ashar & Priyanka Sahoo Mumbai

Maharashtra will now get a separate housing corporation for construction of affordable houses under the Centre’s flagship ‘Housing for All’ initiative.


Struggling to achieve the target of building 19 lash affordable homes by 2022, the state BJP government has proposed the formation of the new corporation, which would be led by the chief minister.


The state’s housing department will table a proposal in this regard to the Cabinet, which is expected to approve it.


In May 2015, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had declared Maharashtra’s new housing policy, which had targeted the construction of 19 lash new affordable units within seven years. But senior officials said on Monday that barely 1872 affordable units have been completed so far.


While the government has so far approved 273 projects involving the construction of 6.90 lash houses in all, officials said that the construction work is ongoing for 1.7 lash-odd units. With more than 370 urban local bodies and planning agencies involved in the initiative, the government had previously nominated the state-run Maharashtra Housing And Area Development Authority (MHADA) as it’s nodal agency. But with MHADA facing a resource crunch, the new corporation will now be tasked with the nodal responsibilities for large-sized affordable housing projects involving the construction of 5,000 units or more, said officials.


Incidentally, the proposal is also to nominate a person from the construction industry as the working president of the new corporation. “Affordable housing under the public-private partnership route (where the government provides buildable area incentives for landholders for construction of affordable homes on their lands) is a major component of the initiative. An industry representative will help push the creation of more houses under this component,” said a source.


Another task of the new corporation will be to raise monetary resources through loans and bonds for financing such projects. Projects approved under the initiative are entitled for a subsidy ranging from Rs 2 lash to Rs 2.7 lash.


Given the state’s current fiscal position, the government — which has to contribute up to Rs 1 lash towards the subsidy component — would find it difficult to pay for the subsidy component for all the targetted houses from the state’s kitty.


While the state has already asked agencies such as the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, the City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra Limited, the Slum Rehabilitation Authority, among others to share some of this burden, sources said that it is also looking to raise bonds and loans to meet the expenses.


Meanwhile, a proposal for extending mobilisation advance to housing federations building affordable units on “cooperation basis” is also on the cards. Sources said only one such project, involving the construction of 30,000 affordable homes, has been approved in Solapur.