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For housing to become affordable we need to create more 'Mumbais'

If you own a few hundred square feet of space in a city like Mumbai, you’ve got it made. Because realty rates are going through the roof and yet there’s no dearth of prospective buyers. 

So, now the terms ‘affordable’ and ‘housing’ sound bizarre when put together. The need for construction of more residential real estate cannot be overstated.

CREDAI says demand for affordable housing in the country will reach 38 million units by 2030
Who’ll fill the gap? CREDAI says demand for affordable housing in the country will reach 38 million units by 2030. Representation pic

However, builders claim this is problematic, blaming the government for not clearing files and pending projects. Corruption is cited as another reason and developers claim single-window clearance is the best way to curb it.

Here are some numbers to ponder. Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI) says demand for affordable housing will reach 38 million units by 2030 as compared to 24.71 million units in 2007 and 26.53 million in 2011.

This means there would be need to build between 700 million and 900 million square metres of residential and commercial space a year. Effectively, this means India would need to create new realty the size of two Mumbai-equivalent cities every year.

Builders claim securing environmental clearances eats into a lot of precious time.

“We developers fail to understand the need for intervention of environment department in projects being implemented as per pre-approved master plans of cities. Why should the department worry about sewer lines and building heights and location of fire stations, which are part of civic plans?” said Lalit Kumar Jain, president, CREDAI.

Arvind Goel, president of Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry Navi Mumbai, said, “If the government initiates single-window clearance for all real estate projects, it would curb corruption. A similar system is needed for environmental sanctions. In our last meeting with the chief minister we had asked him to look into our demands.”

Goel claims corruption increases with more people getting involved in the process. “If a builder has to go to just one particular office for getting permissions, it would mean the procedure would be quicker and so would be the pace of construction. This way more residences would be created and we would be able to provide homes to a larger section of society and meet the affordable housing demand,” said Goel.  

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