MHADA’s affordable flats, at unaffordable prices?

On the auspicious Ganesh Chaturthi day, the Pune division of the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority, which is supposed to provide affordable housing to the poor in the state, tried to “wow” people in low-income group offering them nearly 700 flats.

The only hitch is that a one BHK flat is priced at Rs 6,100 per square feet, a rate which is much above the market rate charged by builders for other private projects in the same area. On Monday, the Pune division of MHADA released advertisements inviting applications from economically weaker sections of the society and those in low-income group, middle-income group and high-income group.

Those in EWS and low-income group should have an income of less than Rs one lakh annually, those in middle-income less than Rs 3 lakh annually and those in high income group more than Rs 3 lakh. MHADA is building as many as 845 flats in Morwadi area of Pimpri-Chinchwad. The flats are already under construction. On Survey No 150, 152 and 153, it is building 362 flats for people in EWS and low-income group, 329 flats for middle-income group and 154 flats for high-income group.

The state housing body is offering one BHK flats (477 square feet), two BHK flats (700-770 sq ft) and 3 BHK (1090 sq feet) in the same project. Going by the MHADA rates, the cost of a one BHK flat works out to Rs 29 lakh, two BHK Rs 45 lakh and 3 BHK flat Rs 62 to Rs 65 lakh.

In Pimpri-Chinchwad, Pimple Saudagar is considered as the costliest place where the going rate is Rs 6,000 per square feet. “Despite this, MHADA is quoting Rs 6,100 per square feet rate for an affordable housing project in an area like Morwadai where going rate is just over Rs 5,000 per square feet,” said PCMC corporator Seema Savle, who sent a letter sent Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday questioning the very purpose for which MHADA was set up.

“MHADA is supposed to provide affordable housing to the low-income group people. Is this affordable housing when they are charging more than the market rate?” Savle asked.

Pimpri-Chinchwad BJP general secretary Sarang Kamtekar said MHADA was provided 2.5 FSI for the project. “In the same area, other builders get 1 FSI. It means MHADA should have offered cheaper flats, but it is offering costly flats. This is absolutely ridiculous.”

Calling it a cruel joke on the poor, another BJP leader Babu Nair, who stays in Morwadi area, said, “The land where the project has come up was already in possession of MHADA. So it incurred no expenses for the land. On top of this, it has constructed no amenities worth its name in the project. Contrast this with other private builders who provide several amenities with an FSI of one,” he said.

Nair said MHADA is supposed to provide flats at a rate 25 per cent less than the market rate. “But they seem to be going 25 per cent above the market rate. MHADA needs to take a corrective step,” he said.

Explaining how the project means nothing for whom it is meant, Kamtekar said, “Somebody who earns Rs one lakh annually will have to pay a down payment and take a loan of at least Rs 25 lakh. On this, the EMI will be around Rs 25,000. Can somebody who gets a monthly salary of around Rs 8,000 afford such a high EMI?” he asked.

When contacted, MHADA CEO S S Zende justified the rates in Morwadi area. “Our Pune division office must have taken into consideration factors like location and the going rate in the area. You should contact the Pune office for their version,” he said.

Pune division CEO Ashok Kakde was not available for comment.

Credits The Indian Express

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