Affordable housing policy of Odisha Govt has proved to be defunct
P K Biswasroy, President-REDA
Interviewer : Sandeep Pattnaik
P K Biswasroy, President-REDA

Odisha Affordable Housing Policy has failed to attract realtors to invest in lower end housing segment, says P.K Biswasroy, President- Real Estate Developers Association [REDA], Odisha. Despite churning various programmes & polices to increase the housing-stocks in the Country, especially in the affordable housing segment, the Central and State Government (s) remains much away from the target. In nutshell, the deficits or the failures in harvesting the success are only and only due to an improper policy implementation, with lack of vision by both the central & state Governments, according to him.

Excerpts of the Interview by Sandeep Pattnaik of                                                                              


1.      Realty sector has taken a beating over the past few years. What are the long pending issues to be addressed immediately according to your view?


Ans. Ups & downs are always known to be a part of any cyclic process and it is inevitable. Thus, the real Estate trade in question has also duly been inflicted in our Country since year 2008, though a glucose dose of relief was seen in FY 10-12 in some parts of the country. Thank God! We the operators in Odisha have never felt the tremor in real Estate business even during 2008-2011, which perhaps, may be due to the substantial gap between the Demand & supply in the graph, prevalent than in Odisha.


Post 2011 up till 2014 series of undesirable causes like tremendous lapses in UPA Govt, global liquidity crunch and the last but not the least to our accounts in the state is the insipid approach of our State Govt. while dealing any burning issues that appear in the Real Estate or construction industry has virtually shattered the trade.


Notably, with every sunrise the real Estate segment encountered an undesirable problem, mostly due to the imprudent decision of the state Govt. since 2012 problems & issues went on over lapping one after the other, resulting a stalemate position, where exactly we stand now. The state Govt should have a holistic approach which perhaps is missing. The most unfortunate part in our state is that unlike in other states and in Central Govt the stakeholders/investors are  duly consulted orconsented while formulating any act or regulations or policies etc. The investors/stack holders have no choice or values of their constructive opinion in the reformation process, which is just a gospel truth to accept.


Creation of adequate Affordable houses with the help of private participants can only be possible where the housing policy (ies) created by the respective state Govts are friendly & conducive,which are evident looking at the well performed states.  Please note that, such an affordable housing scheme or policies are only the state subject, which has to be drawn inconsonance with the Central Govt policy prescribed to follow.  Unfortunately, in our state the affordable housing policy-2012 and its revised version 2013 neither could attract the builders nor even the Govt other agencies who could also exhibit any progress in it. Noteworthy, even if the schemes are said to be completed without harvesting any result, as of now surprisingly,the modalities in relation to the various schemes promulgated in the policy 2013, are yet to prepare& prescribe for adoption.its matter of grave concern that the development Authority in its regulation has prescribed its own choice,which are not on the line of Govt policy and seems to be contradictory. Thus,ithas now virtually proved to be defunct. It would be wise for the govt to realise its mistakes and rectify eliminating the bottlenecks.



2.      There is a huge deficit over supply of affordable homes for EWS (Economically Weaker Sections) in the society. How REDA has taken stride to fill up the supply constraints in Odisha, while the realtors are mostly focusing on Premium housing segment?


Ans. REDA as well as non-reda members certainly can contribute to the creation of affordable housing as it remains as a mandatory requirement but in my view the grey areas in the scheme should be addressed forthwith. The most important point is Govt should always incentivise specially in case of voluntary participation in such a scheme. Further,it shall be a win-win situation,if the govt develop land parcels with infra, and ask the builders to full fill it's 10% mandatory requirements in such pockets and get NOC from the Nodal agency of having its compliance.This shall  boost the scheme in an organised manner.



3.      Do you think the recent policy announcements of the NDA Government to create 100 smart cities across states is a right move in a bid for reforms in the sector?


Ans. The present slogan by NDA Govt pertaining to smart cities looking at the urbanization growth is appreciable by one and all. But in absence of a Road map, it is improper to make any comment on its future. Smart city concept is very popular and aggressively advancing in country like Singapore, Hongkong & in some of the provinces in China. In India, we too have some developments prior to this declaration in places like Gujarat & Mumbai being developed by private players in support with FDI investment. Basically, smart city formation is nothing but the upgradation of suburb areas having modern infrastructure and with the scope of livelihood.



4.     With Bhubaneswar fast emerging into an educational and IT hub, land prices are soaring like anything, which will ultimately escalate the project cost of realtors. In this scenario, what REDA is recommending to the Government to incentivize the sector?


Ans. It is obvious that land is precious. As the urbanization grows, scarcity of land is bound to appear, resulting high value for the land. Hence, the only suggestion in order to check, such skyrocketing price is that, the Govt has to create land banks having all infrastructure in it and allow the private players to operate. Further, the local authority should plan for town plan schemes,in the present context of hardship in land acquisition  asper policy of Govt.



5.      Big ticket Investment in the realty sector especially from NRIS, or be it through FDI is definitely going to hamper due to frequent scams in Odisha in recent days; be it the money routed to the sector through Chit fund schemes, or instances of  cases of land grabbing by builders in nexus with political forces. What is your remark?


Ans. The present scenario in our state of cheating the innocent public by means of various schemes are certainly not by builders in its true sense but some of the financial establishments in the guise of a developer or a builder.  The Govt should have been alert much earlier while such establishments approached widely from village to cities. Thanks that our state Govt off late pounced on the issue  and has not spared anyone how important he is in the circle. I do not feel that the investment from FDI or NRIS shall affect in any way in the future to boost the real estate industry.



6.      The new compulsory land ‘Patta’ regulation for registration of transaction of immovable properties has led to fall in registration of transaction of landed property and also reduction in collection of stamp duty and registration fee for the state exchequer.  What is your view about it as President of REDA?


Ans. Now, most of the individuals/companies/entities have felt the pinch unnecessarily since last five months due to the faulty policy of the Govt demanding to exhibit the Record of Rights [ROR] while selling a property. It’s crystal clear that before compelling such an item, the Govt should have done the mutation process spontaneously as seen in other states. Basically, the idea of such an amendment in the act is to prohibit fraudulent practice in sale in the case of endowment/walk of board/bhudan property etc. However, the matter is in the honourable High court of Odisha, we are to wait for a decision by the court.

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