In order to construct five lakh affordable houses, the state has asked various government authorities to identify vacant plots and hand them over to the Maharashtra Housing and Development Authority (Mhada).According to a senior housing department official, there is a shortage of government-owned vacant land. “We wrote to the collectors of Mumbai, Thane, Nashik, Pune, Sangli, Solapur, Nagpur and Kolhapur to identify plots with an area of 4,000 sqm or less in their respective places. We have to meet the target of constructing affordable houses for the economically weaker sections under the ‘Housing for All by 2022’ scheme. The vacant land identification and hand over will be carried out under the Urban Land Ceiling Act, 1976,” said an anonymous senior Mhada official.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ravindra Waikar, the minister for state housing told dna that the government has already acquired over 400 hectares of land. “We want more land and hence we asked the authorities of various districts to provide the same. If we have our own land then the cost of the houses will be reasonable. We cannot buy land in the open market and construct costly houses. Each department of the government has to help in order to realise the prime minister’s dream of ‘housing for all’. We have all the resources to meet the target, our only issue is execution,” Waikar said.After identifying the vacant land designated for residential purpose, it has to be verified by the Mhada officials, following which the hand over process will take place. “Before the hand over, district collector of the respective plots will be required to cross check and verify whether the designated plot is not demarcated for any other government project. If the land is under litigation, then it has to be excluded from the list. The process of handing over has to be carried out within a period of one month after it is identified. If Mhada fails to develop land within a period of three years from the date of hand over, then the authority concerned has the right to take back its land and use it for any other purpose,” stated the circular.