One or two years is the ideal gestation period for any successful housing project from inception to being handed over to the occupants. Even with delays due to various reasons such as lack of funds, cost escalation, and lack of permissions, project durations usually do not exceed five to six years.
But here is the case of houses constructed under the Valmiki Ambedkar Awaas Yojana (Vambay), not yet handed over to the beneficiaries even 10 years after the project inception.
Initiated nine to ten years ago with the aim of providing affordable housing to the urban poor in Ranga Reddy district, over 4,000 houses under this scheme are still awaiting occupants.
Of the 4,318 flats constructed in seven locations as part of the ongoing project, only 285 have been handed over to the beneficiaries so far. Of them, only 270 have people living in them.
Particularly interesting is the case of the housing complex in Ammuguda near Sainikpuri, which has been under construction for the past 10 years. MLC K. Nageshwar recently raised this issue in the District Review Committee meeting, and alleged that the empty houses were being burgled for their fixtures.
Brickwork is still pending for about 60 flats in the complex which has 480 flats in all. Moreover, the benficiaries are having to bear the burden of cost escalation. While initial cost was fixed at Rs. 90,000 a flat, at quite a few locations, it has gone up to over Rs. 1 lakh. At Lakshmiguda in Rajendranagar, the final cost of each house is Rs. 1.2 lakh, while at Ammuguda and Uppal, it is Rs. 1.04 lakh.
Further, banks have not come forward to sanction the loan component of 40 per cent, which burdened the beneficiaries further, the Ranga Reddy district officials said. Due to all these reasons, the beneficiary contribution has grown from the stipulated 10 per cent to 57 per cent, or at times even over 62 per cent of the final cost.
“After the projects were sanctioned, governments changed, and later GHMC was created. The projects were shifted from the Housing Board to the corporation. Bureaucratic procedures took a long time, all the while leading to cost escalation,” explained J. Srinivas Reddy, Project Officer of Rajiv Gruha Kalpa, Ranga Reddy district.
He said minor infrastructural works were still pending for all the Vambay colonies.