GUWAHATI, July 25 - The Assam State Housing Board is planning to give ownership of its apartments to the tenants who have been staying there.
A decision in this regard had been taken during the recent meeting of the Board.
The Housing Board has 2,275 apartments in the State, a bulk of them (1,856) in Guwahati.
“The rental system is nowhere in India. Housing boards only make affordable houses for three sections of people – economically backward section (EBS), lower income group (LIG) and middle income group (MIG). To take ownership, the tenants will have to pay a certain amount which will include the land value and construction cost. The Board will not take any profit,” Board Chairman Jadav Deka told The Assam Tribune. In case of old apartments, the Board will also take into account the depreciation cost.
The Board should get around Rs 25.66 lakh monthly as rent from the tenants in the apartments. However, every month, there is a shortfall of more than Rs 5-6 lakh due to default in payment by the tenants.
The rent collection falls far short of even the salary payment of the Housing Board staff, which comes to around Rs 70 lakh. The employees of the Board have not got their salaries since March. In some cases, the backlog is of more than six months.
Officials at the Board admit that politicians and bureaucrats have occupied many of its apartments. Some even have two apartments against their name, which is illegal.
Deka said over 100 notices have been issued to such tenants to vacate the houses. “If they do not leave, we will have to forcefully evict them. In many cases the houses were allotted in the names of family members of politicians and bureaucrats,” he said.
The Housing Board also plans to build a 10-storey commercial complex at its head office located at Nursery on RG Baruah Road. The Board has already floated tenders for roping in a project management consultant.
“It will be a 10-storey structure, with two basements for parking. The area available for rent will be will be around 1.20 lakh sq feet. We hope to raise Rs 70 lakh monthly from the complex,” Deka said.
The complex will be a steel structure building. According to the Chairman, the complex will be the first such high-rise in the region to be built with prefabricated materials.
The Board is also planning affordable housing complexes in Tinsukia, Jorhat, Bokakhat and Mangaldai. Besides, eco-sensitive townships are also in the pipeline at Kuruwa on the outskirts of Guwahati and in Dibrugarh.