How have aspects like greater transparency and quicker response been reinforced within MHADA?
You have to introduce systematic changes, focus on aspects like records maintenance, change laws to make recourse easier to the public. Changes by ones predecessor have to be taken forward.
How do you see the recent amendments and policy changes having an impact?
With the recent amendments, MHADA will be able to fulfil its objective of providing affordable housing stock. Previously, nothing was getting done. New housing stock in mill redevelopment projects was being sold at market rates, which is unaffordable for the common man. The chief minister was clear that the stance we had adopted was right. I assured in various forums, let us be very clear - we want only housing stock, nothing else. That is the biggest of the changes.
MHADA has voiced its readiness to partner with private builders to ensure greater affordable housing stock. What has been the progress in this regard?
The concept of joint ventures with private builders has yet to take off but it is very much under consideration; it can be a win-win for all. It is just a question of adequate FSI, we will have to be very careful with that when we do a joint venture. We will scrutinise the applicants and their applications very carefully. Our prior experience of joint ventures has not been so good, they have been very opaque.
MHADA offers projects for all segments – LIG, MIG and HIG. How do you prioritise between them?
Currently 60% of housing stock by MHADA is targeted for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS), Low Income Group (LIG) and Middle Income Group (MIG). The benefits should be extended to Higher Income Group (HIG) housing as well, as per discussions with the secretary to CM and Principal Secretary. Even at the HIG level it is not possible for people in the city of Mumbai to buy a home at market rates. They are considering 3 FSI for HIG townships also.
How has the higher visible transparency, conducting the lottery in public, made a difference in terms of perception?
There is a lot of faith in MHADA these days. The entire MHADA lottery process and system has been computerised and it has been perceived as much more transparent since then. People come and attend the lottery and results announcements, which are done in full view of the public.
Our format has become a role model for housing boards in other states now.
What has been the progress on issues like the mill workers?
Regarding the mill workers, the process is nearing completion and the CM is looking at ways to resolve the issue.
What have been the recent initiatives for transparency in MHADA?
MHADA has launched MITRA, a single window system. This is an initiative for transparent and responsive administration.
What are your plans for MHADA going forward?
The goal is to make MHADA the biggest housing provider authority anywhere in the country.