DELHI: Delhi Development Authority has drafted a proposal to create the biggest housing project for the elderly built with government participation in the country. Spread over 24 acres in Rohini, the plan is to construct around 4,500 one-room flats for the elderly on rental basis with common kitchens, canteens, medical and recreational facilities.
The proposal will now be tabled in the authority's upcoming board meeting and will hopefully be cleared by the Delhi LG, who is also DDA chairperson.
The project — Senior Citizen Service Apartment — will be developed through public private partnership. DDA will be equity partner by way of contribution of its land and DDA's partner, the private developer, will construct the apartment, gymnasium, library, walking track, medical room and other facilities.
Rooms will be provided on rent to people aged 60 years or more for their lifetime. Upon an allottee's death, the next person in the waiting list will get the room. The list will be updated yearly.
"We have been considering the idea of a space exclusively for the elderly. At the moment, such places are very limited. There are a few places in south India and some in metro cities. But either the rentals are too high, particularly in projects developed by private developers, or the waiting list is too long," said a senior DDA official working on the project.
"We want this complex for the elderly to have all amenities that would make their life healthier and simpler, and simultaneously to make it affordable," the official added.
The official said DDA had decided to remain involved in the project to monitor the quality of the flats, food and medical services.
"We want to have management control to remain accountable and responsible. That's why we didn't auction the land to a private developer. This project will be one-of-a-kind in the country," the official added.
On the approval of the lieutenant governor, Delhi Development Authority (DDA) will appoint a financial consultant for the project who will advise the authority on the costs involved and decide on the rentals to be charged.
A few months later, Delhi Development Authority expects to choose a private developer through a tender process, with whom the authority will begin work on construction and complete the project in around three years.
Praising the initiative, J R Gupta, chairperson of Senior Citizens Associations of Delhi, said DDA should ensure that the rooms are well-lit, and the buildings are elderly-friendly. "We held a discussion with top officials from
DDA in May this year and told them that while their initiative was good, they should have our basic needs in mind while designing the flats," he said.
"The toilets and kitchens should have hand-rails, and the floors should be well- lit so that the elderly can walk about at night without getting hurt. We hope Delhi Development Authority keeps the project within the budget of pensioners," Gupta added.