Mumbai: Hundreds of people from Mumbai and adjoining areas have been thronging Mantralaya to submit forms for a low-cost housing scheme, which the Chief Minister's Office said did not exist.
People filled the forms believing it would help them get a house in Powai for a meagre Rs 54,000 under the so-called "low-cost housing scheme floated by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan."
After learning about those submitting the applications, the Chief Minister's office issued a clarification that no such scheme had been sanctioned by the government and the so-called forms were bogus. However, this hasn't dampened the applicants' spirits and the rush continued.
A CMO official said an inquiry will be conducted to ascertain what exactly led to this bogus claim and the subsequent mad rush at Mantralaya, the state Secretariat.
One of the forms bore the Congress motto "Congress ka haath Aam Aadmi ke saath." The form said, "I belong to the economically weaker section. Since the government is allocating houses to the economically weaker sections under its 1987 Powai Development Scheme, I wish to apply for the same 3,000 homes measuring 400 sq ft being developed by Hirandandani Builders under this scheme."
Labour activist Milind Ranade said, "The poor need to know there are apartments in the Hiranandani complex which should have been rightfully theirs."
In 1986, about 240 acres of surplus land was acquired by the state government under the Urban Land Ceiling Act (ULCA) and leased to the developer at a cost of 40 paise per acre. This was done under the ULC exemption clause as per which the developer had to construct modest sized homes of 400 sq ft and 800 sq ft. The ULCA, repealed in 2007, was meant to prevent concentration of land and housing in the hands of a few, he said.
Hiranandani amalgamated the flats to create sprawling 1,200 to 5,000 sq ft residences for high-end clients in over 70 residential and commercial towers, Ranade said.
"Fifteen per cent of the total apartments were to be handed back to the state government for the sake of public housing at the rate of Rs 135 per sq ft. The cost of each 400 sq ft apartment thus works out to Rs 54,000, which is what is printed on the forms," he said.