By Accommodation Times Bureau
NEW DELHI, 16 March 2018: Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Housing and Urban Affairs, Mr. Hardeep Singh Puri, said here today that out of the required 12 million houses by 2022, nearly 4 million houses have already been sanctioned under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY).
Speaking at the Conference on ‘Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Housing for All by 2022’, organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry in association with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Mr. Puri said it was incorrect on the part of industry to assume that just because land was costly and a state subject, it had to be necessarily acquired in places far away from slum areas.
It was important, he said, to remember that In-situ Slum Redevelopment, one of the components of the PMAY (Urban), is especially meant for making cities/towns slum free by providing pucca houses to the beneficiaries with basic civic infrastructure such as water, sanitation, sewerage, road and electricity. Therefore, slums had to be re-developed on ‘as is where is’ basis. It was no longer possible to lift people and relocate them 40-50 kms. away from their existing location, he added.
Mr. Puri said that urban planning in India has suffered from criminal neglect for 67 years. The distortions in the urban space happened because of manipulations by vested interests. This was due to the absence of a regulator to check the brazen acts of developers who got unsuspecting buyers to sign agreements that were one-sided, took their money and invested in land banks. The government has initiated rectification by bringing in RERA, but some state governments which adopted RERA have placed on-going projects outside its fold, he added.
The Minister, however, expressed optimism that ultimately the resilience of the people would prevail and market distortions will correct themselves as demand picks up. The need is to get the first project right in order to remove the trust deficit amongst the beneficiaries and develop a model that can be replicated, he said, adding that the Awas Yojana “was not just succeeding, it was roaring” and therein lies an opportunity for the private sector.
On the occasion, the Minister released a FICCI-CBRE White Paper on ‘Affordable Housing: The Next Big Thing?’
Mr. Niranjan Hiranandani, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Hiranandani Group, in his remarks, said the challenge was that of availability of land for slum development. He underlined the need for taking up a couple of projects and execute them successfully in a specific time frame.
Citing the enormity of slums in Delhi, Mr. Navin M. Raheja, Chairman, FICCI Real Estate Committee & CMD, Raheja Developers, said that there are around three lakh slum households covering 802 hectares of government land. Around 10 lakh people living in these jhuggis are prone to all water-borne diseases, unhygienic lifestyle and other inhuman activities. The challenge is to rehabilitate all slum dwellers and their families in the same areas as before so that they do not migrate away from their origin and place of livelihood.
Dr. Sanjaya Baru, Secretary General, FICCI, noted that the demand for housing had revived and hoped that it would, and can be sustained. FICCI, on its part, would continue its active engagement with the government from framing of policy to implementation and would work in sync with the government to take the Awas Yojana forward.
The day-long conference discussed issues relating to the policy and roadmap for slum dwellers’ rehabilitation and the financing mechanism and government initiatives for ‘Housing for All’.