Houses for poor under PMAY get 52% price hike in Vasai-Virar – ET RealEstate

MUMBAI: Despite reservations from pricing committee, a low cost housing project in Vasai Virar Municipal Corporation has got 52 per cent price hike by the state government. Under the Prime Minister Awas Yojana (PMAY), 44,276 houses proposed at Rajawali village are meant for the economically weaker section whose price has been increased from Rs 14 lakh to 22 lakh.

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) Mission launched on June 25, 2015 intends to provide housing for all in urban areas by 2022. Earlier BJP government had announced to build 19 lakh houses in Maharashtra by the given deadline.

Earlier this month on November 2, the proposal came before the state level sanctioning and monitoring committee headed by the chief secretary for approval. Mirror has accessed the minutes of the meeting which said “the cost as per ASR (ready reckoner) is Rs 14.79 lakh. Cost per DU (dwelling unit) demanded by PP (project proposal) is Rs 22.50 lakh which is 52.03 per cent above ASR cost which is beyond permissible incentive of 20 per cent. Hence the proposal is placed before the pricing committee. The current ASR rate for the year 2020-21 is Rs 50,600 accordingly the selling price of the flat is 52.03 per cent higher than ASR.”

However, the project has been approved by the committee and sent to the Centre for the final approval. Under the PMAY project, the municipal corporation gives all facilities like water connection, electricity to the developer without any hassle. In this project, the government has given FSI 2.5 which is one in ordinary case and exemption on stamp duty, the sources in the housing department said.

When contacted CEO of MHADA Anil Diggikar, he refused any reservation about the project. “There was no reservation on pricing of the houses. In Mumbai, the land cost is higher and considering that, the pricing committee has approved the project,” Diggikar said.

Chief Secretary Sanjay Kumar was not available for comment on the issue despite phone call and text message. Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad was also not available for comment.

As per the project proposal, total dwelling units would be 76,257 of which 62,428 dwelling units to be constructed for the economically weaker sections including 44,276 houses for the beneficiaries of PMAY and 18,152 for free sale. Also, 13,829 of lower income group category would be for sale. The total project cost is Rs 9,962 crore of which the Centre would pay Rs 664 crore and the state would pay Rs 442 crore and the beneficiaries would have to pay Rs 8,855 crore.

Questioning the hike without proper reasoning, respected architech and housing expert Chandrashekhar Prabhu said it defeats the purpose of the scheme. “Though the urban population is increasing and almost 50 percent people live in urban areas, most cannot afford to buy a house only because of the artificial hike in prices. In Mumbai less than 2 percent can afford to buy a house. If the government is permitting keeping the prices at par with market rate then it would in effect deny the urban poor and middle class the right to affordable housing. The PMAY scheme is meant for the poor and affordability is key of the scheme. Such hike without proper reasoning defeats the purpose of the scheme. More so because the builders are being given huge economic benefits including tax exemptions,” he said.

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