HOUSES BEING constructed by the PMC under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) for economically weaker families are finding few takers. At the end of the second round of allotment, as many as 1,830 houses have still not been booked as allottees selected via the lucky draw have not come forward to book the flat by paying 10 per cent of the cost.
As reported by The Indian Express earlier, under the vertical of affordable housing in partnership (AHP) under PMAY(U), the PMC has taken up the development of five housing projects comprising 2,918 apartments at three different locations in the city, namely Hadapsar, Kharadi and Vadgaon Khurd.
When the civic body started receiving applications in 2017, more than 40,000 hopefuls from economically weaker families applied for the scheme. In October 2020, the PMC announced the first list of beneficiaries by drawing a lottery, and asked them to book the homes –ranging between Rs 8.4 lakh and Rs 10.2 lakh – by paying 10 per cent of the booking amount in a month. At the end of this period, however, only 731 applicants claimed the homes, although about 1,400 of them collected the provisional allotment letters from the PMC). The rest gave the opportunity a pass.
On December 7, the PMC published another list of 2,187 fresh allottees from the waiting list. By January 6, when the deadline to book the home ended, only 357 of them booked the offered home. Thus, at the end of two rounds, 1,830 (62 per cent) were not allotted.
According to officials, most of the dwelling units (DU) that have not been booked are at three sites in Hadapsar’s Hingane Mala. In this area, which already has over a dozen slum rehabilitation buildings and do not have proper access roads, the PMC is constructing 1,024 DUs in three different projects.
Also, unlike the two other sites, namely in Kharadi and Vadgaon Khurd, the work has not physically commenced and allottees are finding it difficult to envisage how the building and the apartment would look. At these sites, however, beneficiaries are visiting the ongoing work and can take a look at the sample flat and possible amenities in the building and the locality.
“Most of the apartments that have not been booked are from the Hadapsar sites,” said a staffer at the PMC’s PMAY(U) cell.
While the allottees of the two other sites are satisfied, the difficulty in getting a home loan is proving to be an issue for many families, especially in those where the income comes from unorganised sectors. Major banks are turning them away for lack of income proof, compliance with income tax rules and good credit history and private finance firms are charging a hefty interest rate.
A rickshaw driver, who has been allotted a home in the Kharadi project, said, “Nationalised banks charge 6.9 per cent interest on home loans. They are refusing us loans for lack of documentary evidence of income, and the interest rates offered by private finance companies are too high – ranging from 9 per cent to 12 per cent. These firms are also notorious for harassing and abusing customers even if there’s a minor issue in repayment. Considering everything, I’m confused if I should go ahead and book the home or let it go.”
Dinesh Rokade, joint-director in-charge of PMAY(U) in the PMC, said Additional Commissioner Rubal Agarwal held a meeting with representatives of nationalised banks, requesting them to make the process of getting loan easier for EWS beneficiaries.
“The bank officials, however, conveyed that they are bound by guidelines of RBI (Reserve Bank of India) and won’t be able to lend to those without requisite documentation or with default on a previous loan,” said Rokade.
Rokade said the civic body was considering giving another chance to applicants in the primary list or the waiting list but could not make the booking within the deadline due to logistical reasons. “We are still compiling the lists of allotments and vacancies and, once that gets finalised, senior officials will take a call in this regard,” he added.
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