Stating that there had been a “criminal neglect” of urban planning in the country, union minister for housing and urban affairs Hardeep Singh Puri on Thursday called upon private developers to come up with bankable projects' for affordable housing, saying there was no shortage of land or paucity of funds.
“(It is) important to acknowledge when urban planning goes wrong and in India, the urban planning has not just gone wrong, there has been criminal neglect of urban planning for 67 years,” Puri said addressing a conference on Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) Housing for All by 2022 organised by industry body FICCI in the Capital, adding “the distortions that emerged in the urban space are manipulated distortions. These distortions are manipulated by vested interests.”
He called upon developers to invest in affordable housing sector in a big way, saying that “I don't think there is any shortage of land in India. There is no shortage of funds as well. If you come (real estate players) up with a good bankable project, you can raise the money inside the country and you can do so outside the country."
He also said that the National Urban Housing Fund of Rs 60,000 crore approved by the government was not going to be sufficient and private participation was essential. “Total amount of money required is Rs 179,000 crore. Affordable housing is succeeding. It is not only great win-win for India but also an opportunity for the private sector,” he said.
He said there was “distortion’ in the real estate market due to a number of other factors, including absence of regulator for the last 70 years and credited the NDA government for the passage of Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act which would address the problems of real estate sector.
But the problem did not end with the passage of the real estate bill as some state governments have "tweaked its provisions at the point of implementation. Ongoing projects were kept outside the purview of the Act," Puri added.
Referring to Kathputli Colony redevelopment issue, he said that “after considerable struggle we have got the Kathputli Colony issue sorted out.”
He also said that it is important to develop slums on an “as is where is basis.” It is no longer possible to lift people 40 to 50 km away from their habitation and their work.