Mill workers get first flat keys

Thirteen years after finalising a policy to provide housing to lakhs of workers who lost livelihood after mills shut down, the state government finally started the process of flat allotment Saturday, with CM Prithviraj Chavan handing over the keys to 24 families.

However, while over 1.4 lakh applications for homes at subsidised rates have been received, the state has built only 10,165 flats so far.

Minister of state for housing Sachin Ahir said 1,26,166 applications had been received from mill workers and 22,701 from their kin. Land has been acquired from 27 mills and 10,165 tenements built on 18 plots.

The process of allotting 6,948 tenements in phase 1 had been initiated, said Ahir. The houses will be provided through draw of lots.

Chavan said MHADA would acquire additional land from 36 mills to build 24,800 more tenements. Of these, 16,700 will be kept aside for mill workers and the remaining will be used as transit houses.

"There are a number of mills that have to give land to MHADA. Processes are on to acquire these as soon as possible. The mill land policy was finalised in 2000 but not much progress has happened in terms of handing over flats to deserving mill workers. Thirteen years is a long time but our commitment is still the same," said Chavan.

He said the government was still to acquire more than three hectares.

A committee has been set up to assess eligibility of mill workers, decide the method of distributing tenements and assess their cost. The flats have a carpet area of 225 square feet, built-up area of 423 square feet and one room, a bathroom and kitchen space. Vitrified tiles have been used for flooring and ceramic tiles in bathrooms. Structural audit of the flats has been done by IIT Bombay which guranteed the structures will stay stable for 50 years. The price of the houses ranges from Rs 4.81 lakh to Rs 8.34 lakh depending on category and floor. The central contribution to a tenement costing Rs 8.34 lakh will be Rs 2.06 lakh. The state government will bear Rs 84,000 per flat and it will be sold to the mill worker at Rs 7.5 lakh.

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