Ahmedabad: The Gujarat government is all set to announce a 'redevelopment policy' to initiate building of affordable houses in place of old colonies, a senior official said in Ahmedabad on Monday.
The plan is to build 1 lakh affordable houses in cities like Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Vadodara and Surat, Urban Development and Urban Housing (UDD) Secretary Mona Khandhar said.
According to her, the policy is ready and will be announced "very soon".
"We have already prepared the final policy draft and it will be announced very soon. This is the first time in Gujarat where a redevelopment policy will be launched," she said.
The policy primarily aims to build new houses in place of old and dilapidated houses built around 15 to 25 years ago in major cities, by the Gujarat Housing Board (GHB), which is the state's nodal agency for construction of affordable houses.
"We want to provide new and improved houses to those living in houses which show signs of aging and are in a dilapidated condition. Apart from being bigger in size, these new houses would also have several amenities like better parking space," she said, adding these new houses would be built on the same land on which old housing colonies stand.
"The biggest benefit to occupants is that they will get bigger houses. Our aim is to build 1 lakh new houses in five years. These 1 lakh houses also include many old houses which will be replaced with new ones," she said.
"In addition, we will be able to add new apartments by constructing multistoreyed buildings on the same land where buildings with very less floors were built earlier. Through this initiative, optimal use of available land would be achieved," she said.
Since the policy's focus is on building new houses in place of existing ones in urban centres, the state government has made provisions to incentivise occupants of these houses, who may have to bear some financial burden to get new homes.
"Our aim is not profit, but to provide better homes. Though current house owners may have to shell out some money to get new homes in place of old ones, we will definitely incentivise them to make sure that they don't feel too much financial burden," she said.
Giving more insights into the policy, a senior GHB official said that lack of maintenance over the years have left many houses in a dilapidated condition.
"So far, GHB has built around 1.76 lakh houses in the state. Most of them are more than 15 years to 25 years old now. Moreover, the carpet area of these houses are also small because of then prevalent Floor Space Index (FSI) limitations," the official said.
"This low FSI forced us to build low-rise buildings back then due to which the majority of these colonies have three to four floors only. Now we aim for optimal utilisation of land by building multistoryed buildings" the official said.
He said that when these colonies were built several years ago, land prices were not high. Presently, land prices are as high as Rs 1 lakh per square yard in posh areas, where many old colonies are situated.
"FSI limitations have been eased, paving the way to build some more floors. Thus, we can build multistoryed buildings in the same place, which will give us extra number of apartments at no extra cost. Simultaneously, present occupants will get bigger homes with better amenities," the official said.
He said that it is likely that private builders would be roped in under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model along the lines of the Gujarat government's affordable housing policy launched in 2014.
"Our aim is to build houses without incurring extra cost. We will invite private builders and developers to join this mission under the PPP model. We will give them a specific quota of houses which they can sell in the open market," Khandar said.