Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) may be coming up with new housing schemes, but the existing dwelling units are ailing with several problems.
Need-based changes for these dwelling units is a major issue raised by the owners and candidates for the Lok Sabha election Congress candidate Pawan Bansal and Aam Aadmi party (AAP) candidate Harmohan Dhawan have also criticizing the BJP government during their campaigning for taking up the issue of the need-based changes as a mere eyewash.
The BJP announced regularization of need-based changes made by residents, a few months before the polls.
According to the CHB Residents’ federation, the conditions imposed on the owners of these dwelling units while regularizing these changes are so stringent that it will not benefit most of the dwelling owners.
For Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) or Low Income Group (LIG) categories, additional construction in rear courtyard or terraces has been allowed with a condition that the total area of construction shall not be in excess of 150 square feet or 75 per cent area of the courtyard or terrace, whichever is less.
However, according to the Chandigarh Housing Board Residents Federation the approval, the area in the courtyard or terrace has already been used by people in these LIG houses by making an additional room. The complete 100 per cent area has been used and the board says that it will allow only 75 per cent to which residents are objecting.
There are 61,067 dwelling units of the Chandigarh Housing Board in which people have made violations by constructing additional rooms, balconies and making other changes.
Also, the Chandigarh Housing board residents have raised the issue that existing dwelling units are not architecturally sound.The houses in Sector 63 constructed just three years back, already have leakages in its units now.
Nothing in sight in PMAY yet
After a long survey, the CHB had initially shortlisted only 444 people out of 1.3 lakh who applied to get the houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojna (PMAY). However, after a nudge by the Centre to conduct a fresh survey and then construct houses, the project has been hanging in the balance for an year. As per a fresh survey, as many as 10,035 people have been found eligible who will be given new houses.
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation had asked the housing board to review all the rejected cases again. As per an initial survey by the Deputy Commissioner’s office, there were 1,113 such cases where people already have residential properties in other parts of the country, whereas the eligibility criteria has specified that one cannot have any house or residential plot anywhere in India. Other than this, the department found that there were 8,660 cases where several members of the same family had applied for the dwelling units. There were many whose documents were not complete and were given an opportunity to complete them again, following which 10,035 people were shortlisted. But then the survey was conducted all over again.
Being a state-level nodal agency for the implementation of this mission, the CHB had carried out a demand survey on EWS, LIG and MIG households in the urban areas of Chandigarh.
The board now says that they will require additional land for construction of these units and asked Ministry of Home to provide more than 100 acres to them on subsidised rates so that affordable houses could be made available to city residents under the PMAY.
“A Cabinet note on a proposal to allow transfer of the land has been sent by UT Administration. We need around 100 acres of land for this project and accordingly there will be a pressure of infrastructure on the city as well, since water, electricity, all the basic amenities have to be provided,” a senior official of the board said.
Slum dwellers yet to get possession of flats
The Chandigarh Housing Board constructed 4,960 flats at Maloya for slum dwellers. The construction got completed in 2016 but there were several works which were to be done by the Municipal Corporation like setting up sewerage treatment plant, water supply, parks and various other amenities. For the last one year, the administration had been waiting if PM could give a date and keys could be handed over to slum dwellers. Finding no date from the prime minister, the keys were handed over by the MP ahead of the code of conduct. These are one-room flats for the EWS people.
Draw of lots was held for around 2,390 slum dwellers but possession has not been given.