Mumbai: Hundreds of thousands of Mumbaikars lined up on Monday for a chance to own a flat in prime areas, as the Maharashtra Housing and Development Authority (MHADA) opened the process of allotting low cost flats.
For many citizens like John Mendosa it was nothing less than a golden opportunity.
John Mendonsa has worked hard all his life to give his sons a decent education and now he wants them to settle down in their own homes.
So when John and his son Colin finally laid their hands on the application forms being distributed for allotment of MHADA flats, they were two relieved souls.
“My dad and I have been standing here since 9 O'clock. It’s almost 12.30 pm now and it’s a big queue,” Colin said.
Even as the applicants hope that they will find their home in the less than 4000 flats being offered, one thing is clear — the dream of affordable housing for all in Mumbai still remains far from materialisation.
At the moment, MHADA is one of the few answers to the average Mumbaikar's dream of buying an affordable home.
They say, for them, MHADA is their only option as everything else is way out of their budget.
This time 3,863 low-cost flats are being allotted in prime areas like Versova, Ghatkopar, Chembur and Goregaon. There are different housing schemes for different income groups and the flats are being offered at nearly half the market price, ranging from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 50 lakh.
However the spectre of the recent Delhi Development Authority (DDA) housing allotment scam in Delhi is looming large. The MHADA, however, says they are taking extra precautions.
“There will be a lottery after forms are submitted. We are being very transparent about the whole process,” explains Chief Officer, Mumbai board, HK Javale.
The demand for the flats is huge and the MHADA expects to rake in Rs 5 crore, just through the sale of application forms, each of which costs Rs 100.
And while the hopefuls wait in line, the sale has acquired a political hue already, with the Shiv Sena demanding that 80 per cent of the flats be reserved for Maharashtrians.
(With inputs from Uday Jadhav)