Years after lottery allotment, MHADA jacks up prices

The last hope for many to own a flat in the city, the state-run housing board has suddenly hiked prices of more than 1,100 flats in Mandale-Mankhurd region just before possession spooking those who won the houses in the annual lottery nearly three years ago.

This is the third time in recent times that the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) is jacking up prices of flats after the lottery, sending buyers scurrying to arrange for the additional finances.

The latest hike in Mandale-Mankhurd would pinch the buyers the most as the houses are for economically weaker sections and low-income groups. They got them in the lottery of 2010. MHADA has raised the rates of 1,018 tenements for economically weaker sections to Rs 4.93 lakh from Rs 3.94 lakh. For another 93 tenements allotted to families from the low-income group, the price has been hiked from Rs 7.65 lakh to Rs 10.03 lakh.

"In this case, cost escalation is mainly due to delay in getting occupation certificates from the civic body. It is true buyers are likely to find it difficult to arrange for the extra funds, but so far none of them has spoken about giving up the houses," a MHADA official said on the condition of anonymity.

He added that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) recently granted occupation certificates for these flats and MHADA is in the process of giving possession to owners.

People with a monthly income lower than Rs 8,000 per month are eligible for MHADA houses for the economically weaker sections, and those with a monthly income between Rs 8,000 and Rs 12,000 are eligible for low-income group houses.

For tenements not available for immediate possession, lottery winners have to pay 10% of the total cost within a month. They need to pay 80% of the cost in two instalments in the following months, and the remaining 10% after they get occupation certificates.

Last year, home-buyers who won flats in Malwani in the 2011 MHADA lottery were stumped when nearly a year after getting the under-construction houses, the housing board informed them of hike to the tune of Rs 2.4 lakh over the original price of Rs 14.93 lakh. Earlier, MHADA had increased prices of about 110 of its flats for the high-income group in Powai by Rs 15 lakh to Rs 49.83 lakh.

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