Punjab govt approves affordable housing policy

Punjab govt approves affordable housing policy
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CHANDIGARH: The Punjab Cabinet on Wednesday paved the way for the notification of the Affordable Colony Policy – 2018 to facilitate affordable housing for lower income groups, thereby also checking the mushroom growth of unauthorised colonies.

With most unauthorised colonies found to have small sized plots that are normally purchased by economically weaker section (EWS) and lower income group (LIG), the state government had decided to relax certain provisions in approved colonies, including relaxation in saleable area, FAR etc., with the aim to make plots available to the common man on affordable rates.

The Cabinet has now given its nod to the new policy, aimed at offering higher density and floor area ratio (FAR) to the promoters who were keen to develop an affordable colony, according to an official spokesperson in a release.

The new policy has proposed rebate in rates pertaining to Change of Land Use (CLU), External Development Charges (EDC) and License Fee (LF) to enable construction of the maximum possible number of flats over an acre of land.

This would help make these available to the lower income groups on affordable price. Plot sizes in such colonies shall be maximum up to 125 square yards and their average size shall not exceed 100 sq. yard.

Under the policy, a maximum of five acres of land would be required to carve out an affordable colony in all the master plans of the state, except SAS Nagar and New Chandigarh master plans, wherein any activity to set up a colony is only allowed to be undertaken as per the provisions of the approved master plans.

The policy proposes plotted, flatted and a mix of plotted and flatted development by the promoters.

It also envisages the maximum saleable area for the flats at 65 per cent of the total project, as against the existing 50 per cent, which would come as a major relief to builders.

Similarly, under the flatted development on roads of 40 to 80 feet and above, an FAR of 1:2 to 1:3 has been proposed. Parking norms for the dwelling units have also been relaxed.

As per a recent inventory, there are approximately 8,000 unauthorized colonies having about 40,000 acres of land, which have come up without permission from the competent authority in a haphazard manner and are devoid of basic facilities such as water supply, sewerage etc.

The mushrooming of unauthorized colonies has been found to be directly linked to non-availability of affordable housing for the lower and middle income groups, release said.

Meanwhile, Punjab cabinet also gave its nod to renaming the Department of Welfare of Scheduled Castes, Backward Classes and Minorities, as Department of Social Justice and Empowerment and Minorities’.

The decision to rename the department was taken as the existing name neither carried a positive connotation, nor truly reflected the efforts and endeavor of the government for upliftment of disadvantaged sections of the society, said an official release.

The Directorate of the concerned department has also been renamed accordingly as Directorate of Social Justice and Empowerment and Minorities.

Concurrently, the post of ‘District Welfare Officer & Tehsil Welfare Officer’ has been renamed as District Social Justice and Empowerment Officer &Tehsil Social Justice and Empowerment Officer.

The population of Punjab is 277.43 lakh, as per the census 2011, which comprises weaker sections of the society that include 31.94 per cent population of Scheduled Castes and about 16.1 percent of Backward Classes besides Christians, Muslims and other minorities.

PTI