The state housing authority’s plan to enter the commercial sector by building plush houses to be sold at market rates on the fringes of the upmarket Bandra Kurla Complex business district has got a fillip after gathering dust for two years.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan recently cleared the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority’s (MHADA) proposal to modify the proposed land use of the plot to residential from commercial. Until now, this was the only obstacle that had stalled the project.
MHADA plans to use the proceeds from this project to subsidise the cost of its houses meant for the poorer income sections, the prices of which have surged over the years.
After the Chief Minister’s nod, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), special planning authority for the region, published a notice, dated July 2, announcing its intention to modify the proposed land use of the plot and inviting suggestions and objections in this regard.
In 2012, Satish Gavai, vice chairman and chief executive officer at MHADA, had written to the state government on the issue. Gavai said, “We will start working towards the project after the mandatory waiting period of a month for any suggestions and objections on the same. The development control rules that apply for MHADA will not apply on this land, so we don’t have to necessarily construct houses for across income groups. To unlock the real value of land there, we will construct high-end tenements and sell those at market prices.”
As per preliminary plans, MHADA wants to build 14-storeyed twin towers on the plot with nearly 350 houses, each of around 970 sq ft. The authority is in charge of a 35,940.69 sq m plot at Bharat Nagar in Kole Kalyan, adjoining the swanky BKC. The entire land was earlier reserved as ‘Maharashtra Housing Board Transit Camp.’
In 2010, the state urban development department issued a notification to delete the said land use and include the plot in residential/commercial zone, while 18,000 sqm of the total land was reserved for commercial use.
The state government has now approved to modify the land use of this plot to residential from commercial, pending suggestions and objections. At present, the land is occupied by transit homes with about 750 tenants. MHADA plans to redevelop the area and give the tenants alternate accommodation.