- The Maharashtra has cancelled a tender to build over 33,000 low-cost homes across the state.
- The government claims that MHADA had not followed official guidelines in issuing the tender.
- There are allegations that the agency was favouring a particular contractor.
MUMBAI: In a move that is sure to impact the poor, the Maharashtra government has cancelled tenders worth a whopping Rs 3,612 Crores that was to be used for the construction of over 33,000 low-cost homes under Prime Minister Modi’s flagship scheme, the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY).
In cancelling the tender, the state housing minister Prakash Mehta claimed that the Maharashtra Housing Development Authority (MHADA) has not followed the guidelines that has been laid down under the PMAY scheme.
“The MHADA tender rules had given preference to contractors with pre-cast technology. There are several other new technologies that are available and even they should be considered. We want a good contractor with competitive prices that will benefit the state,” stated the minister.
MHADA had invited tenders for the construction of affordable homes in the Mumbai Metropolitan region (MMR) on October 24th. However, the government claims that the agency did this in spite of not having acquired the land parcels needed for construction to begin.
Sources tell NDTV that allegations were raised that MHADA was favouring a particular contractor and that this is one of the prime reasons why the government intervened to cancel the tender. However, the agency has denied this claim.
"These are all media presumptions. Yes, they (the housing projects) are technologically neutral. We have called for in-situ casting as well as precast so everybody and anybody on the earth is welcome", says SS Zende, vice-president of MHADA in the agency’s defense.
Experts are using this instance as a prime example of why the government should rethink its approach towards the construction of low-cost homes.
"To stop these things from happening, the government should instruct agencies like MHADA and the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) to construct these buildings themselves in order to avoid allegations of favouritism,” says a Kalmlakar Shenoy, a noted housing activist.
The Maharashtra government had passed the proposal to construct 11,000 affordable houses across the state two years ago, but that proposal has still not taken off. And as things stand, the chances of the government meeting its ‘housing for all’ targets are very slim indeed.
Edited By Nikhil Narayan Sivadas