Govt plans ‘river-friendly’ housing policyhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/lucknow/govt-plans-riverfriendly-housing-policy/

Govt plans ‘river-friendly’ housing policy

Taking a lesson from the flood-ravaged Uttarakhand,the UP government has decided to formulate a new urban housing and habitat policy in which the Housing and Urban Planning Department is proposing to make at least 2 km of river catchment areas a “construction-free zone”.

Taking a lesson from the flood-ravaged Uttarakhand,the UP government has decided to formulate a new urban housing and habitat policy in which the Housing and Urban Planning Department is proposing to make at least 2 km of river catchment areas a “construction-free zone”.

Sadakant,Principal Secretary of Housing and Urban Planning,said the idea of the proposed policy is to conserve the “eco-system around major rivers in the state”.

“The time has come when rivers should not be considered drains,otherwise rivers will react like that,” said Sadakant,referring to the Uttarakhand floods. He said the new policy will protect river flood plains and watersheds from encroachments,even if it means removing illegal construction that already exists at certain places.

He said the “government is preparing a housing policy keeping in mind the social structure of the society,unorganised sector,middle class as well as farmers. In the new policy,we will also allow ‘mixed use’ concept keeping the middle class society in mind”.

The government is planning to allow limited “non-residential activities” in residential areas “vertically” as well as “horizontally”. The vertical mixed use would mean separate floors of the same building can be used for different purposes — one floor could be residential,another for retail and a third for institutions. Under the horizontal structure,different buildings would be allowed different land use.

“It is an accepted fact that basic needs,especially retail shops,medical stores,etc,are required in residential areas and if we do not allow their use,then they come up in unauthorised manner. Thus,mixed use would set percentages for everything,” said Sadakant.

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While there will be provision for “affordable housing”,a percentage will also be fixed for housing for economically weaker sections in every project,keeping the work force in the “unorganised sector” in mind. Farmers whose land will be acquired for housing projects would be offered a share in the developed area under the policy,he said.