BHUBANESWAR: The revised urban housing scheme in state, notified on Thursday, has evoked sharp reactions from real estate developers. They said the mandatory provisions in the scheme are impractical and won't help create affordable housing stock.
The Revised Urban Housing Scheme 2013, which replaces the Scheme for Affordable Urban Housing in Odisha 2012, lowered the percentage of mandatory houses for economically weaker sections (EWS) in private developers' project size, exceeding 2,000 square metre, from 15 to 10%.
The same has, however, failed to cheer the builders. Real Estate Developers Association of Odisha (Reda) has even taken exception to the provision. "It is not practical to reserve 10% built-up area for EWS category. If converted into units, it would become 35% dwellings as size of these houses is smaller. We had suggested making it 5%," said Reda president Pradipta Kumar Biswasroy.
The scheme gives an alternative to the builders. If it is not possible for them to accommodate EWS houses on the project sites, they can do so within 5 km radius or deposit equivalent amount of money in government's urban poor shelter fund.
"It will be very difficult to find sites for EWS houses within 5 km of projects in the city because of high land cost. The government ignored the developers' suggestion of increasing it to 15 km. Most builders would either avoid undertaking projects of size bigger than 2,000 sq mt or just deposit the equivalent amount of money to the urban poor shelter fund, as is allowed in the policy. Though the government would be able to raise funds, the very purpose of the scheme to create more affordable houses will be defeated," he said.
Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (Credai) state unit has also its own reservations about the mandatory provisions.
"Though we welcome the initiative, the mandatory provisions are difficult to meet. The government should have been more flexible in allowing the builders to make EWS houses within a larger geographical area rather than confining it to 5 km radius," said D S Tripathy, national joint secretary, Credai.
A government officer said the revised policy has been framed after considering various aspects and would help to create affordable houses in various cities of the state.