How has the significance of MHADA and its objective vis-a-vis affordable housing increased over the years?
Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority, is the sole nodal agency of the state government, which is providing affordable housing to the last section of the society. MHADA has in last 6 decades provided affordable housing to nearly 6 lakh families in Maharshtra of which 2 lakh are in Mumbai alone.
Mumbai faces the huge challenges of urbanization. Land shortage and expensive housing options have raised the demand for affordable houses.
The government has taken various policy decisions to ameliorate the situation, which would raise nearly a lakh affordable houses through MHADA alone in near future. Additional housing stock is a must at a time when the middle class was finding it difficult to purchase homes in the city.
What are the efforts being made through MHADA to increase the housing stock?
The spatial growth and sprawl of the city is guided by the development and the Development Control Regulation. Hence, the state has basically taken up the task of amending the DCR in order to increase the housing stock. Aiming to tide over the shortage of land to build affordable houses, the MHADA has taken up various initiatives including the redevelopment of its 56 old housing colonies. In the housing policy, the authority has chosen the option of housing stock instead of the premium from the developers. Thus, after the redevelopment of old MHADA colonies the developers will compulsorily share housing stock with MHADA, which would be made available at the affordable rate to the citizens.
Besides, the amendment in the 33/5 regulation of DCR has increased the permissible FSI cap from 2.5 to 3. It would not only attract the builders but would also provide bigger houses to the residents of the old buildings. Also the task of redevelopment of Motilal Nagar, entrusted by the High Court, would fetch a good amount of housing stock for the citizens by MHADA.
DCR 33(9), which pertains to cluster development, would definitely give impetus to the affordable housing. The new amendments would be a challenge to the public to enhance their cluster sites thereby to avail more benefits in terms of square feet and better amenities.
Also, to increase the housing stock, MHADA has decided to undertake Slum Rehabilitation Scheme (SRA) on its own land. The authority has already received 20 projects. Also MHADA has taken up housing project on trunk key schemes on its various vacant plots, which would also fetch a good amount of housing stock.
The joint venture activities are also being encouraged by MHADA. The land owners along with developers can avail the incentives of three FSI if they join hand with MHADA for developing any private housing project.
Redevelopment of Mumbai is an aspect where MHADA can be a game changer; how do you see this happening and in which parts of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region/ Maharashtra?
The initiatives taken up by MHADA in the redevelopment of Mumbai definitely can be termed as a game changer. With MHADA involving itself in the redevelopment activities directly, the property rates would affect the market prices and a huge housing stock will also be made available.
MHADA exemplifies the concept of basic housing at affordable rates; how would you rank its performance, the trust and brand equity it has built up over the decades?
Being a government mechanism/ agency people have faith in MHADA as an institution. For the very reason whenever the housing authority declares its advertisement for the sale of affordable houses, it receives a huge response. The applications received by the authority runs in lakhs.
Transparency in administration is the main principle being followed by the housing authority. The state takes pride in fulfilling the long pending demand for housing for the mill workers at comparatively cheaper rates in Mumbai city. This can prove to be a best activity of building trust among the citizens. The repair and reconstruction board of MHADA shares the pride of being only of its kind to provide safety to the lives of the people residing in the most dangerous buildings in the island city. Also the Slum improvement board of MHADA takes care of slum dwellers by providing them basic amenities to improve their standard of living.
A comment on redevelopment of sector 5 Dharavi redevelopment Project, the most ambitious project of the state government?
DRP is indeed the most ambitious project of the state Government. The Sector -5 of Dharavi, which stretches over 165 hectares, will soon wear a new face as the construction of 300 houses in sector V is near completion.
What is your vision for MHADA going forward? Where do you see the state of Maharashtra in the next five years as far as housing is concerned?
There is a vast disparity between demand and supply of the housing stock in the state. The state is exploring all the possibilities to minimize the gap between and demand and supply of the housing stock. In this direction MHADA has prepared a Master Plan for the next five years and it is expected to construct half a lakh housing stock during the period. We wish to make MHADA one of the most active housing authorities on the nation’s map.