One of the biggest investments the government was looking to bring into the housing sector through the Make in India Week held in Mumbai earlier this year has been put on hold.
The Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) was in talks with a developer to build 3.5 lakh to 4 lakh affordable homes through a slum redevelopment scheme with the backing of Canadian Pension Fund and consultant IL&FS. However, the proposal is now stuck as the authority has not had any word from the Canadian Pension Fund regarding the proposed investment.
Aseem Gupta, Chief Executive Officer at SRA, said, “The MoU with Deserve Group was to be signed with the Canadian government and IL&FS. The developer was supposed to get us the confirmations. We got a line of confirmation from IL&FS, but the Canada government has not responded.”
As part of the agreement, the Mumbai-based Deserve Group was to redevelop slum sprawls on prime plots between Cuffe Parade and Borivli, after getting Letters of Intent for the slum development schemes as per due procedure. The developer was to build low-cost homes as part of his sale component.
The SRA scheme allows private developers to rehabilitate slum-dwellers living in structures built before January 2000 in highrises constructed on a portion of the plot the slum occupies. As an incentive, builders are granted a higher construction area and are allowed to commercially exploit the remaining public land free of cost. The scheme, which was launched two decades ago with the intention of housing eight lakh families within five years, has managed to rehabilitate a little over 1.5 lakh families until now.
An official from the state housing department said it has communicated to the SRA that the authority can go ahead with the agreement only if it can get the Canadian Pension Fund on board.
Mei Mavin, spokesperson from the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, said, “We do not have any comment to provide on this as we don’t comment on speculation.”
Officials from the Deserve Group were unavailable for comment.
A senior state government official who did not wish to be named said, “The chief minister was very clear that if there has to be an agreement, it has to be between the Maharashtra government and the Canada government. An agreement cannot be with an individual developer. Also, if there is a government-to-government agreement, we will have to treat all developers who come through the that government equally.”