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J&K fails to implement affordable housing policy even after a year of approval

Last Updated on February 28, 2021 at 3:35 pm

The Government has failed to start implementing Affordable Housing, Slum Redevelopment and Rehabilitation and Township Policy, which was sanctioned by the Administrative Council for construction of 1 lakh residence units for Economically Weaker Sections, Low Income Groups and Middle-Income Groups within a time period of five years.

The main intention behind framing this policy was to make sure that all residents of urban areas in J&K have a range of affordable housing options by setting up a system that delivers results consistently over a period of time. The policy states that the J&K Government wants to solve housing problems in urban areas and have an operational system where supply matches demand.

However even after many months have passed, the Housing and Urban Development Department has not even started implementation of the groundwork. The Department was expected to set-up Affordable Housing Facilitation Centres to make sense of the demand by registering potential beneficiaries and facilitating access to home loans.

In a similar way, the main step was to create Infrastructure Development Fund for supporting projects like slum redevelopment, affordable housing, master plan roads, open space development etc. Sources said that however, the Housing and Urban Development Department never cared about these basic steps.

Similarly, the department never initiated any step for establishment of UT Level Slum Redevelopment Authority, Slum Area Redevelopment Committees at City and District Level and Finalization of Project Development Agency. The department never even initiated a spatial survey for settling the outer boundary of every slum while they are fully aware of the fact that only after this exercise slums will be categorized as tenable, untenable or semi-tenable.

Even though the Government has stated in the Policy that an effective and efficient institutional mechanism is required for achieving the objectives still it didn’t initiate even a single step in this direction. Sources said that this indicates that overcoming the lack of housing facilities in the UT of J&K has been only limited to formulation of Policy. If the Housing and Urban Development Department was serious then they could have started work as early as July last year.