2BHK towers on the horizon

Deccan Chronicle.  | L Venkat Ram Reddy

Nation, Current Affairs

Telangana govt to construct 1.29 lakh flats in 20 locations due to land constraints.

Flats at IDH Colony in New Bhoiguda were given to residents in November 2015.

Hyderabad: Residential towers are usually meant for the affluent. But such towers for the poorer sections are all set to dot the city’s skyline in a year. The ruling TRS, which swept the GHMC polls recently, has speeded up construction of 1.29 lakh 2BHK flats for the poor at 20 locations spread over 500 acres in the GHMC limits. These towers will be in G+5, G+9 and G+14 formats. The government is spending Rs 7 lakh on each 560 sq. ft, 2 BHK flat, which will be provided free of cost to the poor as part of its ambitious target of making Hyderabad a “slum-free city” in three years.

Of the Rs 7 lakh, the state government’s contribution will be Rs 4.5 lakh, central government’s Rs 1.50 lakh and GHMC’s Rs 1 lakh. While the government had originally proposed to build these residential towers spread over 1,000 acres, it was brought down to 500 acre due to land constraints. Only government land is being used  since acquiring private land in the city will be very expensive and increase the project cost monumentally. The government has secured a Rs 6,000-crore loan from HUDCO for the purpose.

The TRS believes that the scheme played a major role in its landslide victory in GHMC elections, and delivering the promise will consolidate the party before the 2019 general elections. The TS household survey in August 2014 revealed that there were 2 lakh homeless families in Hyderabad, for whom the 2BHK houses are being built now. “Due to limited availability of government land in GHMC limits, we have decided to construct towers so that the maximum number of flats can be built in a limited space. Besides, it would be easier for the government to provide all amenities in a single location and take up  maintenance periodically,” said Mr A. Indrakaran Reddy, the minister for housing.

He said there were around 1,445 slums  and constructing 2BHK flats in all these slums was proving difficult due to various reasons. This is because some residents in these slums have constructed houses in plots admeasuring 75 sq. yards to 200 sq. yards and have refused to vacate their houses for the 2BHK flats saying that they would suffer losses as they would lose their plots. “Residents in 18 slums have agreed to vacate their houses, paving way for demolition of those dilapidated buildings and construction of new 2BHK flats. People in another 12 slums too are willing to vacate their houses. Once it is finalized, we will call for tenders,” Mr Reddy said. Tenders are expected to be called within two weeks and the government hopes that top infrastructure firms would be able to construct the flats within a year using modern construction technology.

IDH Colony initiative made others fall in line:

The 400 model ground-plus-two 2BHK flats constructed by the Telangana government in IDH Colony last year by replacing dilapidated buildings has made the job easier for officials to convince residents in other slums to vacate their houses so that new  flats can be built. Residents of IDH Colony were forced to live in rented houses for about 11 months to realise their dream of owning a new 2BHK flat with all basic amenities  at zero cost.

They say it was worth spending a few thousands towards rent since they cannot buy a flat worth over Rs 9 lakh for free in their lifetime with their meagre incomes. Ms Borra Shantham-ma, who was allotted a 2BHK house in IDH Colony, said, “We had to take a single room house for Rs 1,500 per month. The electricity and water charges accounted for another Rs 500. We  incurred Rs 22,000 in 11 months. Though it was a burden for us, it was worth bearing since we got a flat worth over Rs 9 lakh for free with all basic facilities. Now we are living happily.”

All the 377 beneficiaries of IDH colony had to incur similar expenditure for 11 months. Their old houses were demolished in October 2014 and new 2BHK flats handed over by 2015 November-end. All the flats were registered in the name of women as per the policy of the Telangana government. Another beneficiary, Ms Manthena Kalavathi said, “Initially, we were tensed after vacating our old houses since the works did not begin even after four months. On one side, we were spending over Rs 2,000 on rented houses and on the other hand, there were fears whether we could get the new house even in five years. Though the CM, ministers and officials who visited our colony promised to build new houses in a year, we had doubts and fears with the delay in works. But once works started, they were done in just seven months.”

To ensure that the 2BHK scheme is not misused by beneficiaries by selling or renting out to others, the government has directed GHMC officials to take up inspections every month to verify whether the beneficiaries are staying there or not. “Three inspections were done in these three months, but not a single case of beneficiaries not staying in their houses has surfaced. In fact, beneficiaries love their new houses and are keen to live there themselves. They are not willing to even rent out to others with a fear of outsiders spoiling their houses,” said Mr Srinivas Yadav, the city minister, who had taken the initiative in convincing the IDH residents to vacate their old houses for new ones last year.