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Provide existing affordable unsold housing stock to slum dwellers: Praja Foundation

01:15 AM Aug 26, 2020 | Staff Reporter

The Praja Foundation unveiled its Working Paper on 'The Need for Affordable Housing for All: Recovery and Development in Maharashtra’s Cities Post COVID-19' on Tuesday, highlighting strategies to be adopted for Mumbai’s metropolitan regions to achieve the goal of adequate housing for all.

Milind Mhaske, Director, Praja Foundation suggested to tackle the issue of density in big slum clusters, the government can provide existing unsold and ready affordable housing stock for purchase and lease in the metropolitan region at construction cost to beneficiaries in lieu of their current dwelling (but with a larger area) and compensate developers accordingly.

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"These short term measures can lay off the burden of existing unsold stock from real estate and financial institutions to revive the economy. While to better address issues of habitability and ensure collective management of housing, a medium term strategy for new construction of affordable housing within the city for purchase and lease on government land at cost of construction through the Community Land Reserve (CLR) needs to be adopted. This scheme can be applicable for redevelopment of existing slum areas, or on sites of abandoned, under construction and unoccupied old buildings, and/or by utilisation of unused spaces in the city such as the eastern waterfront," said Mhaske.

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Other experts also advised measures that included relocation of labour-intensive businesses to reduce slum density.

Nitai Mehta, Founder and Managing Trustee, Praja Foundation said, since many such slum clusters like Dharavi are business hubs and security of livelihood is an important criterion for relocation, the scheme also includes a provision for shifting of businesses. "Businesses that relocate have the opportunity for institutionalisation, better access to finances, better work environment and improved facilities," said Mehta.

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