Realtors skeptical over housing policy for poor

The state government’s plan to create one lakh affordable houses in 10 years has made developers skeptical.┬áThe ‘scheme for affordable urban housing in Odisha-2012′ annunciated recently stipulates developers to reserve 15% built-up space for lower income group (LIG) and economically weaker sections (EWS) in residential projects of size exceeding 2,000 sq m. The builders opined that it was not feasible and suggested reduction in their contribution to low cost houses.

“Fifteen per cent built-up area is on the higher side and the government should lower it to 5% or ask the builders to reserve 10% dwelling units,” said president of Real Estate Developers Association of Odisha Pradipta Kumar Biswasray.

The realtors’ body has also suggested an alternative model for developing such houses. The government can ask private developers to build stipulated amount of dwelling units for the poor on a designated government land. This would create a cluster of LIG/EWS houses which the government can allot later, the Reda chief said.

Opposing creation of EWS/LIG houses within high-end apartments, Biswasray said, “The EWS/LIG families may not find it comfortable to share the same space with the super rich. The poor allotees may finally end up selling their apartments at higher prices defeating the purpose for which the houses are allotted to them.”

Developers said the government should play more substantive role in creating houses for the poor. “It should create a bank of low-cost houses and sell those to intended beneficiaries,” said Anup Kumar Mohapatra, another developer.

Urban development secretary Injeti Srinivas said the government will look into the developers’ concern. “We will soon organize a workshop of builders, housing loan providers and the city development agencies to discuss the policy. The government will duly consider the feedback on merits,” Srinivas said, adding, “Builders should not have a problem with reserving 15% for the poor because they will get to use equivalent amount of space for constructing houses for the high-income group.”

Srinivas said the policy is on the right track. The Odisha State Housing Board (OSHB) and BDA have already decided on some projects as per the new policy, he added.

The government promises houses in the cost range of Rs 7.5 lakh to Rs 15 lakh for the LIG and EWS buyers. Those with monthly income of less than Rs 7,500 have been categorized as EWS while those with monthly income between 7,501 and 15,000 fall under LIG. The government will give 100% stamp duty exemption on EWS and LIG houses while the urban local bodies will provide concession in holding tax.

The government has decided to reserve 20% of developed land earmarked for residential purposes in the city development plan for houses under EWS, LIG and lower middle income group (LMIG, those having income from Rs 15,001 to Rs 20,000 per month) categories.

courtesy: Article from Times of India, image from Economic Times

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