In May, the Devendra Fadnavis government had unveiled the ‘Housing for All’ initiative to create 19 lakh affordable homes by 2022, but a month later officials are talking of lowering it to a ‘more realistic’ target.
The initial target was set without a “thorough assessment of available land and resources” to build cheaper homes, government sources admitted.
The draft housing policy, unveiled in May, also set 19 lakh affordable homes as the target but before the final policy is published, it could be lowered, sources confirmed.
“Consultations are being held with government departments,” a senior official said.
State Housing Minister Prakash Mehta said, “We are reviewing the housing stock.” Mehta, though, still hoped that 19 lakh target was “achievable.”
Others, in various departments, are not too optimistic. “Only 5,500 homes were created under slum redevelopment in five years. Yet the state’s draft housing policy set the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) a target of 2.38 lakh homes in the next seven years,” a senior official said.
He added, “Similarly, the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA), which hardly constructed any home on its own in the last few years, has been set a target of 75,000 homes. Another 60,000 homes are to be constructed through private redevelopment of MHADA colonies, and 45,000 through redevelopment of old and dilapidated cessed structures. These seem unrealistic.”
Sources confirmed that the Maharashtra home department too has claimed it does not own enough land to meet the target of 75,000 cheaper homes set for the department.
A recent report by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority states that barely 256 hectare of salt pan lands in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region was “developable”.
Mumbai has about 2,176 hectare of salt pans and the government has been banking on unlocking of salt pans for construction of affordable homes.
The government had earlier claimed that about 50,000 homes will come from private projects spread over 4,000 sq m area, where a condition of providing 20 per cent of built-up space for 30 sq m and 50 sq m homes to the government for housing economically weaker sections and lower income groups had been imposed.
On May 27, the Fadnavis-led Urban Development department issued a notification stating that conditions won’t be applicable to projects where carpet area of existing residential tenements does not exceed 80 sq m. The government exempted even PPP projects on government and semi-government land from the conditions. Sources in the housing ministry admitted that this relaxation will impact supply of cheaper homes.