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  Mhada ignored advice to scrap politico quotas

Mhada ignored advice to scrap politico quotas

Published : Jun 24, 2016, 1:09 am IST
Updated : Jun 24, 2016, 1:09 am IST

The Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) in 2013 had ignored a suggestion that it should eschew quotas for politicos in the lower income category.

The Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) in 2013 had ignored a suggestion that it should eschew quotas for politicos in the lower income category.

Having received flak for reserving 19 homes in its latest lottery for MPs, MLAs (sitting and former), of which 13 homes were in the economically weaker section (EWS), lower income group (LIG) and middle income group (MIG), the state housing authority has maintained that it had reserved them in keeping with the current Act.

 

It has cited the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Act, 1976.

However, a committee headed by the former deputy Lokayukta Suresh Kumar, in 2013, had suggested slashing EWS and LIG quota for the politicians as their basic salaries were generally above the eligible salary under the EWS and LIG category.

Following the Mumbai board lottery advertisement on Thursday, activists and opposition Congress have decried the quotas.

A senior Mhada official on condition of anonymity, said, “It is a very old practice and it is not something that has popped up suddenly. The Mhada Act mandates a reservation of two per cent for sitting and former MPs and MLAs. Also, the committee’s suggestion of slashing EWS and LIG is not practical because it is possible that a former MP or MLAs income is within the eligibility criteria of EWS or LIG.”

 

The official also added that the suggestion to be made into a law will have to be tabled in the authority meeting of the Mhada and later, in the state Assembly. It is very difficult to table such a topic, as the matter is not only administrative but also political.

The income slabs for Mhada are based on the monthly income of a family. Salary up to Rs 25,000 falls under the EWS, from Rs 25,001 to Rs 50,000 falls under the LIG, and from Rs 50,001 to Rs 75,000 falls under the MIG. A salary of Rs 75,000 or above falls under the higher income group (HIG).

The Mhada has also received flak, as certain flats under the HIG category are smaller in size and costlier when compared with the flats under the MIG category, which are bigger than that of HIG flats, and also cheaper. For example, for Mhada’s HIG flat located in Powai measuring 56.90 square metres (612 square feet), the Mhada has quoted Rs 61,61,600. Whereas, MIG flat measuring 58.03 square metres (624 square feet) in Sion, almost equal to that of HIG, is quoted at Rs 37,95,000. A senior Mhada official, however, claimed, the difference is because of HIG flats having modern amenities and better paint quality, tiling and sliding. Also, the location factor plays an important role. Powai being a hilly region, the construction cost increases automatically.