30 licence application for building suspended
Nearly 35,000 flats under the affordable housing scheme are currently under construction in Gurgaon and, if state government expedites the approval for pending licences, another 24,000 units could come up in the city to address the housing needs for low and middle income groups.
It has been learnt that as many as 30 licence applications for affordable housing on around 165 acres of land in Gurgaon are currently pending with the state for nearly a year now, despite the government’s focus on the segment. Affordable housing got a boost earlier this year, with the Union government giving the segment the ‘infrastructure’ status in the budget.
The Haryana government had come up with the Affordable Group Housing Policy in 2013 under which 300 acres of land was reserved for the same in Gurgaon. Last year, the state government even increased the land limit to 500 acres though no notification has been issued till date.
And the department of town and country planning (DTCP) has so far issued 41 licences for affordable housing on 234 acres of land in the city’s new sectors 58 to 115 being developed along Southern Peripheral Road and the Dwarka expressway.
Realtors say the delay in giving approval to pending licences will defeat the dream of affordable housing for all.
“If there is some issue with paperwork, then reject the application, but do not hold on to it,” said president of NAREDCO, Praveen Jain. “The government should do away with the cap on affordable housing. Why there is a cap on 300 or 500 acres for affordable housing, if anyone has land and want to construct affordable housing units, let them do it. It will be difficult to achieve the dream of housing for all with such limitations.”
“Affordable housing is the need of the hour. The most important factor that has provided a fillip to affordable housing is granting of infrastructure status. The state government should expedite the licence approval process and end the upper limit for affordable housing,” said Ssumit Berry, managing director of BDI Group.
Some developers also said that along with Gurgaon, places like Bhiwadi are emerging as affordable housing hotspots. “Proximity to Gurgaon and Indira Gandhi International Airport makes Bhiwadi a well-connected hub of commercial and industrial activity, leading to the demand for affordable housing,” said Rohtas Goel, CMD of Omaxe Ltd.
However, Vineet Relia, managing director of SARE Homes, said with more players coming into the affordable segment, “there is a need for innovation in construction technology”. “For private developers, affordable housing offers cheaper FSI (floor space index), but margins are thin since the real estate eco-system does not provide streamlined processes, design and automation for construction work. Affordable housing offers high sale velocity, but it is not backed with technology,” he said.