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Ludhiana

Posted at: Jun 14, 2019, 7:25 AM; last updated: Jun 14, 2019, 7:25 AM (IST)

State govt housing policy turns out a damp squib

GLADA fails to sanction single project in 15 months

Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, June 13

The state government’s “Punjab Affordable Housing Policy 2018” has failed to find favour with economically weaker, lower and lower-middle class people due to bureaucratic apathy, liquidity crunch, procedural delays in granting approvals and high rate of taxes.

While the Housing and Urban Development Department claims to have given approval to a dozen affordable housing projects in the state, not a single affordable housing project has been sanctioned by the Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) even after 15 months of the policy being notified in March 2018.

“It (the policy) is a mere document with no vision or intention to provide affordable housing. There is a dire need to revise the policy from the buyers’ perspective,” says GS Lamba, a developer and general secretary of the Punjab Colonisers and Property Dealers Association.

Lamba was of the view that linkage of five per cent of total area of the colony for the EWS was a big deterrent while high rates for change of land use (CLU), external development charges (EDC) and procedural hassles created by bureaucrats derailed the policy.

Another city-based property developer Gulshan Kumar of GK Group asserted that both the realtors and buyers were reluctant to avail the centrally-sponsored credit linked subsidy scheme (CLSS) with a subsidy of Rs 2.67 lakh per housing unit. He said high state and central taxes, stamp duty, development charges, CLU fee and infrastructure development cess neutralised the subsidy portion.

Difficulties in securing finance from banks and housing finance agencies was cited as yet another stumbling block in the way of the affordable housing policy. As the scheme targets the EWS and LIG households, documentation required to avail finance has been a big challenge, said the realtors.

Lamba and Gulshan Kumar were confident that unless relaxation was provided in the maximum permissible area of the colony (for affordable housing), mandatory reservation for the EWS houses, reduction in development charges and the CLU and license fee removed, the housing scheme for urban poor would be rendered useless.

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