Affordable housing takes pace in Andhra Pradesh, builders want govt land

With the State government planning to take up affordable housing in a big way an exercise to identify land for the purpose and involve builders has begun.

With the expectation that more industries will be set up in the district, particularly in Achyutapuram area, more demand for economically weaker section and low income group housing is expected. Keeping it in view, District Collector N. Yuvaraj has asked VUDA, GVMC and Housing Board to prepare a report on the potential housing demand and how to implement it. He had already held two meetings with all officials concerned and builders represented by Confederation of Real Estate Developers Associations of India (CREDAI), Visakhapatnam Apartment Builders’ Association (VABA) and AP Real Estate Developers Association.

Around 200 locations are identified from which 140 have been found suitable. Besides land on which 66 slums are located are also found suitable.

Builders are being offered incentives on stamp duty and concession in other fee if they take up affordable housing, it is learnt. Any venture with 235 EWS and LIG units is considered an affordable housing project.

Taking up housing on government land in public private participation or even on private land is also being suggested, it was learnt.

However, a State-level policy is yet to be finalised. Once it is announced, having done lot of spade work the district administration is likely to finetune its housing plans for EWS and LIG sections.

CREDAI for land swap

Before embarking on such a major initiative for such a big number of houses, the government should take up an exercise on the lines of the one for the new capital for Amaravati, say builders.

A consultant should be appointed to survey all the government lands including those on which slums are situated and suggest housing projects. The number of slums that came up occupying government land, some of it on prime land, the number of families living there etc should be covered in the work of the consultant, says CREDAI Visakhapatnam chapter Chairman K. Ramakrishna Rao.

There are huge chunks of government lands and if 10 per cent is given all of them can be accommodated with vertical construction, he says.

But builders do not want to take up the construction on a sharing basis. The mix of EWS/LIG with high-end construction has not worked anywhere, says Mr. Ramakrishna Rao.

The government can work out a model for assessing the cost for the construction taken up on the land given by government.

“What we want is land of equivalent value elsewhere in lieu to take up construction for our projects,” says Mr. Ramakrishna Rao.

Most of the real estate activity in the city is based on development basis. Taking the land of private persons, builders construct apartments and share with the owners of the land.

This has proved to be quite successful for so many years and there hardly been any major complaints, he points out. This is a successful business model that can be adopted, he feels.

The government housing programmes have run into problems as the houses are handed over after construction without any commitment on maintenance.

“But we are ready to take up construction as per the new regulations under the Real Estate Act where maintenance is up to a period of five years after obtaining occupancy certificate,” says Mr. Ramakrishna Rao.

Credits The Hindu

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