Integrated townships could the answer to increasing land and building costs

“In most big cities, land prices have skyrocketed. Townships address the needs of their habitants and are the way forward,” said Pradeep Jain, Chairman, CREDAI, who was in the city recently. Even as the city warms up to the idea of townships that promote the ‘work, play, live’ way of living, Jain stressed the need for developers to provide all necessary amenities such as proper roads, taxis and even emergency services within the township, similar to the amenities provided by the government outside townships.

Talking about the proposed Land Bill, he said, “Once the Bill is passed, any kind of public-private partnership in development will be difficult except perhaps in large-scale public projects and civic services.” Speaking of the impact of FDI in the sector, he said, “I am confident that its impact will be felt on the realty sector over the next three to four years.”

Addressing the growing concern about the lack of affordable housing, Jain asked for a single window clearance system for affordable projects. He also said that uniformity in rules and regulations across states and clarity on the size of affordable homes would help. “The confusion particularly prevails in the wake of the recent RBI announcement to allow external commercial borrowings (ECB) for low-cost and affordable housing,” said Jain.

According to the RBI, “a low-cost affordable housing scheme for availing ECB would be a project in which at least 60 per cent of the permissible FSI (floor space index) would be for units having a maximum carpet area of up to 60 sq. m”. However, Jain pointed out that many states had local norms that did not permit homes in these specifications. Clearly, some clarity in ground rules would help these schemes to take off better.