BMC’s Gharkul rental housing scheme plans 50,000 units

The BMC has already made a token allocation for the project,to be called Gharkul,in the current budget.

Written by Alison Saldanha | Mumbai | Published: October 16, 2013 12:43:18 am

In a first-of-its-kind project by a civic body,the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has identified 60 plots across the city to develop 50,000 rental housing units. Of these,24 plots are located in the island city.

The BMC has already made a token allocation for the project,to be called Gharkul,in the current budget. Gharkul is likely to be based on the lines of Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority’s (MMRDA’s) current rental housing scheme (RHS) wherein people of lower-income groups are let out houses of a minimum size of 160 sq ft at low rentals. These schemes allow developers to claim as incentive a floor space index of 4.

Since 2008,MMRDA’s has developed about 50,000 units under RHS in the urban local bodies of Thane,Mira-Bhayander,Kalyan and in Panvel taluka of Raigad district. Last week,a delegation of the Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industries (MCHI) met Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and demanded that the scheme be implemented in Mumbai as well.

A senior civic official requesting anonymity confirmed the development and said the departments concerned were studying implementation aspects related to RHS. “It is a very big project and will change the way BMC operates as a urban local body. It involves major policy changes and will have significant ramifications. It is at a nascent stage,hence no official announcements. A token provision was made in this year’s budget at the last minute because the proposal came late. We are now working on it.”

BMC’c standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale,who is likely to contest Lok Sabha elections in 2014,had put forward the proposal earlier this year. In the budget for 2013-2014,a provision of Rs 1 lakh was proposed and approved by the standing committee towards “implementation of Gharkul scheme to provide rental homes on cheap rates by developing vacant municipal plots.”

“Other big cities like Singapore and Dubai have successfully implemented a rental housing programme wherein the public body as the owner leases out these units to citizens of lower-income groups as affordable housing options. In Mumbai,the property price is skyrocketing and since the BMC has many vacant plots,it is possible for it to develop these and let them out on rent,” said Shewale.

“In an informal meeting of the standing committee last week,chief engineer of the development plan department made a presentation showing 24 vacant plots in the island city and 36 in the suburbs. These are of considerable size. We can start work next year with higher budget allocation. We are working out the incentive FSI component for builders. Through the 60 plots,we hope to get close to 50,000 rental housing units for this scheme,” Shewale said.

Another civic official said the lease period and other details were yet to be worked out.

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