In February, a seminar on Housing Policy was attended by the Chief Minister, Housing Minister, Housing Secretary, top builders, NGOs, well-known individuals in the field of housing and various government officers.
A Report on the Draft Policy was prepared by YASHADA (The Yashwantrao Chavan Academy for Development Administration) after a few meetings. On 5th April Version 4 of YASHADA’s report was circulated. This version has no amendment to the 1999 Rent Act. On 15th April 2015 the State Government officially circulated the Final Draft Policy in Marathi, in which the amendment to the Rent Act has been added.
What happened between 5th and 15th April? Why was this amendment suddenly added? Why were tenant organizations and the group assisting the government prepare the policy unaware of it? Where is the study/survey/data on which this amendment is based? Why is the Govt. rushing through with this with no discussion at all? And that too during the school summer holiday period when a large number of people are not in the city?
A Times of India article on Friday 15th May, 2015 headlined “’Altered’ Housing Policy Raises Concerns” states that a controversial builder was involved in this insertion. Housing Minister Shri Prakash Mehta was reportedly “was not kept in the loop while formulating the policy”. In the middle of all this, Housing Secretary Satish Gavai had first gone abroad and had been unreachable and has since been transferred from the Housing Department.
On 25th May 2015 the Chief Minister said that Policy was “prepared by YASHADA”. It appears that the Chief Minister has been misled by the Housing Department, as this amendment to the Rent Act finds no mention in Version 4 of YASHADA’s report.