Courtesy state govt over 250 homes on ownership basis for journalists

Ahead of Lok Sabha polls, the BJP government in Maharashtra has proposed the allotment of prime land in suburban Mumbai for a proposed high-rise for a housing society for journalists. Also, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has announced that 50 per cent of the homes in this high-rise will be reserved for those covering state affairs and politics.

The state-run Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) will implement the scheme.

To enable this, the state has invoked regulation 13 (2) of the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development (Estate Managements, Sale, Transfer and Exchange of Tenements), Act, 1981, a contentious provision that was last used by the Fadnavis government in August, 2015, for sanctioning a high-income group housing scheme for sitting Bombay High Court (HC) judges on another 32,300 square feet public housing plot in Oshiwara.

In 2017, The Indian Express had first published a series of reports over the allotment for the high-rise for judges and controversies related to it. Basically, the regulation permits MHADA to build homes for a “specific category of persons with the government’s prior approval.”

Earlier, in 2008, the then Congress-led government had used the provision to sanction a high-rise for bureaucrats in Kalina, which continues to be mired in controversy.