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Urban renewal to be top priority

Urban renewal to be top priority
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First Published: Sun, Jun 03 2007. 10 55 AM IST
Updated: Sun, Jun 03 2007. 10 55 AM IST
Mumbai: Deregulating the housing sector and encouraging competition while building public – private partnerships were solutions that emerged at a conference where there was equal participation from the government as also the private sector.
The Common Minimum Programme of the UPA government has Urban Renewal as top priority, said Kumari Selja, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, at a Conference on Affordable Housing organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry in cooperation with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and the Government of Maharashtra in Mumbai on 2 June.
Under the guidance of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, she said her ministry would constitute a high powered task force on ‘Affordable Housing for All’, headed by an eminent personality from the private sector. It will advice the government on policy and legislative reforms.
The task force will also take appropriate steps to make housing affordable to all sections of society.
Optimum utilization of land, as also the need to protect the interest of consumers and to address their grievances by having a regulator in the real estate sector would be priority areas.
Emphasizing that a serious regulator was needed to guide and inform the decision makers, she felt that Public Private Pariticipation (PPP) in the Housing Sector would go a long way in creating a balanced model of growth and development.
According to Vilasrao Deshmukh, CM, Maharashtra, “The state would play the role of an enabler and facilitator, while private sector participation would help address the problem of affordable housing. This progressive model has been the theme of the draft housing policy published by the Government of Maharashtra in November 2006”.
He stressed on the need for reforms and liberalization in the housing sector so that affordable housing could be created on a large scale.
He also emphasized that the need of the hour was to deregulate the housing sector and to encourage competition and PPP. He listed the state government’s objectives whcih could help in creating a blue print for other housing strapped cities too:
* Creating adequate housing stock for low income and economically weaker sections
* Pursuing target of cities without slums by using land as a resource
* Making mandatory a percentage of housing in every township or layout for LIG/ EWS
* Rationalizing the large number of permissions and clearances by working towards a one window clearance
* Encouraging use of modern technology for creating housing stock
* Strengthening rental housing by amending Rent Control Act for new buildings and premises
In Mumbai, slum development, especially the reconstruction at Dharavi, Asia’s largest slum cluster have already been initiated. Meanwhile, residents of dilapidated buildings in Mumbai will also see a refurbishment.
The ‘Dharavi Redevelopment Project’, would be named ‘Rajiv Gandhi Project’, in honour of the late prime minister’s initiatives, which included his being the first Prime Minister to visit Dharavi and announce a grant for its re-development. ”We will fulfill his dream,” Mr Deshmukh announced.
The backlog of housing has increased with passage of time, said P K Bansal, minister of state – finance, Government of India. He was hopeful of home finance becoming an easier option, which in turn would ensure Affordable Housing became a reality.
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First Published: Sun, Jun 03 2007. 10 55 AM IST