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Affordable housing critical in Gujarat, say experts

Sunday, 13 January 2013 - 3:25pm IST | Place: Gandhinagar | Agency: dna

Developers demand tax cuts, higher FSI and change in GDCR

‘Affordable Housing’ is the greatest buzz word in Gujarat. During Gujarat assembly elections, rivals cashed on the critical matter as a politically mobilising issue with Congress floating its ‘Ghar nu Ghar’ scheme and BJP promising 50 lakh houses! Be that as it may, business magnates converging in the Vibrant Summit 2013 too believe that affordable housing remains the most critical issue in Gujarat due to higher urban growth rate.

These experts from academic, real estate and technology sector reached a consensus that the issue has reached critical dimensions here because Gujarat’s urbanization growth rate is higher compared to other states. They suggested various ways to tackle the issue including use of technology, policy changes and changes in general development controlling regulation (GDCR) along with public private partnership.

According to Gujarat Population Census 2011’s report, in last 10 years Gujarat’s urban population growth has remained at 35.83% and 42.58% of its population lives in cities. Due to higher urbanization growth Gujarat needs to build more houses in affordable segment, said V Suresh, former chairman and managing director of Housing and Urban Development Corporation (Hudco). He also said that the government promised to build 50 lakh houses which would demand investment of $30 billion.

Suresh said that synchronization of land, finance and technology is required for affordable housing sector. As cost of construction is going high, use of technology will make affordable housing sustainable in the long run, he said, also warning developers at the same time not to use technology blindly. “The developers should also remember that except one district, the entire state is multi-disaster prone zone,” he said.

Similarly, Prof Anil Sawhney of IIT Delhi said that developers should standardise affordable housing like car makers. They should use factory made pre-fabricated material and technology for reducing material waste and thus reduce construction cost, he said. He also called for joint efforts of academia, industry and government for innovative affordable housing.

Experts at the meet also urged the state government to reduce tax burden in the state. V Suresh demanded tax cut in form of reducing stamp duty and VAT on construction material, while Chairman of Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (Credai) Lalit Jain described lower FSI (Floor Space Index) as disastrous for Gujarat.

Jain also demanded comprehensive tax policy, uniform development rules, automation and single window system for clearance. According to resolution passed at global meet of realtors, FSI below five is disastrous and not in line with developing state like Gujarat, he said.

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