The state government has issued orders stating that the additional built-up area generated while the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) redevelopes its own colonies will be made available entirely for public housing.
Earlier, 30-45 per cent of the extra built-up space generated due to the increased floor space index (FSI) for MHADA colonies reconstruction went to the tenants in addition to the bigger houses they get post-redevelopment.
MHADA officials said they expect to generate at least over a lakh units in public housing stock over the next decade solely through the redevelopment of its existing colonies spread over 5,000 hectares in Mumbai. The numbers are significant, given the fact that MHADA’s depleting land and housing stock means it has released just 3000-odd much-sought-after affordable houses during its annual lottery in recent years.
In October 2013, the state urban development department issued a notification hiking the incentive FSI from 2.5 to 3 for the redevelopment of colonies in 104 MHADA layouts. Of these, 56 colonies are on larger plots. In a bid to encourage tenants to come to MHADA for redevelopment instead of going to private developers, it added that those colonies taking the MHADA route would be rewarded with 15 per cent additional area than what is otherwise permissible. However, the notification also said that the FSI left over after rehabilitating the tenants and setting aside MHADA’s incentive share would be split between the tenants and MHADA. “This would have led to almost half the houses that could have been used as affordable housing being given away for nothing. There seems to be some oversight in the earlier policy, which has now been rectified,” said a senior state government official.
In February this year, MHADA’s Mumbai Board chief officer had written to the state government asking the latter to review the sharing clause in the larger public interest.
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The government issued fresh orders this month stipulating that “when redevelopment scheme is undertaken by MHADA itself bearing all the expenses, the balance FSI is left entirely with MHADA for creation of affordable housing stock”.
The apartments thus generated will be sold for the economically weaker sections, low and middle-income groups. “Since 2005, when the government first increased the FSI for redevelopment of MHADA colonies to 2.5, we have issued No Objection Certificates to only 10 per cent of the total buildings. We expect a much better response with the new policy,” said R B Mitkar from the housing board’s redevelopment cell.