Tuesday, May 26, 2015

‘If a builder is not ready to carry forward an SRA project,government should step in’

Addressing the need for affordable housing,State Housing Department Minister Sachin Ahir talks to The Indian Express about various housing schemes and how they need to be modified for effective implementation

Written by Express News Service | Published on:March 11, 2013 2:31 am

SHUBHANGI KHAPRE: In terms of affordable housing,how much of it has been achieved and what are the key concerns?

Sa: In 2006,we thought the state needs a housing policy. In 2009,we came up with a solution and signed an agreement with the MCHI to create five lakh affordable houses throughout the state to have private participation in affordable housing. For the first time,we also decided to allow MHADA to start purchasing private land. MHADA should have played a vital role in creating satellite cities of Thane,Mira-Bhayander,Bhiwandi,but unfortunately at that time the policy was that MHADA can only buy government land. Under this new policy we have purchased and started the development of a large part of land in Pune (about 16.76 hectares),Nashik (about two hectares),Vasai,Virar and some parts of Konkan where we are now planning townships.

SHUBHANGI KHAPRE: Are you hopeful that the Maharashtra Housing Bill passed by the Assembly last year will get cleared by the President this year?

We are hopeful. There is just one hitch. Last week,Ajay Maken,Minister for Housing and Poverty Alleviation,during his visit said the Centre was seriously thinking about a model Act for the entire country,but we are arguing that one cannot compare India and Mumbai or Maharashtra due to scarcity of land. As per the Act the Assembly passed last year,any builder developing a plot of more than 4,000 sqm has to register with an authority. He will get a code number and only after that will he be eligible to do any advertisements,sale or purchase.

SHUBHANGI KHAPRE: There is always a clause by developers in their sale deed that the plans are subject to change,right?

We have brought an amendment that if the builder has to make any changes,it has to be with the consent of the buyer. We have also made a provision that a developer cannot sell 10 per cent of his total housing stock. A lot of builders cannot complete the project owing to financial problems or personal problems. In that case,60 per cent of people who have purchased the flats can come together as an escrow agent and this 10 per cent stock can be handed over to them,who can take this project ahead with the help of contractors. Also,now in future if there is some violation,not only will the builder be facing a penalty,but also an imprisonment up to three years.

P VAIDYANATHAN IYER: Maken had also said Mumbai needs to open up its Floor Space Index. What is your opinion?

We are also of the same opinion but it depends which area we should open up FSI for. We can’t throw open the FSI for the entire city because infrastructure is a major problem. So,we are thinking why not implement it in Mumbai Metropolitan Region. We allowed an FSI of four in the rental housing scheme to create more affordable housing.

MAYURA JANWALKAR: Is there any limit on the amount of time a developer can take to complete a project?

Around 41 permissions are required for a building project. We are trying to implement …continued »

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