J&K Government approves new housing policy
The J&K Administrative Council, which recently met under the chairmanship of (Ex) Lieutenant Governor C Murmu, has sanctioned a proposal of the Housing and Urban Development Department for adoption and notification of the Jammu and Kashmir Housing, Affordable Housing, Slum Redevelopment and Rehabilitation and Township Policy 2020. The first of its kind related to building dwellings in J&K, the policy is part of a broader vision to meet the growing requirement of housing in the Union Territory (UT). Policy highlights The policy addresses seven models of housing, from in-situ slum redevelopment to integrated township, to cater to every section of society. It will attempt to promote public-private partnership (PPP) in affordable housing and slum development projects in the UT. The policy also provides a platform for operation and maintenance of integrated or special townships in a cooperative manner. Existing slum dwellers will be given minimum relocation facility to maintain the sanctity of economic and social linkages developed over time in the settlements. The policy also includes provision for fast-track approvals of housing in the EWS and LIG categories. It also provides certain relaxations for these houses regarding building permit fee, land-use conversion, external development charges, etc. The policy also focuses on rental housing projects,where EWS families will be provided accommodation on a license basis for occupation and use for a particular period after making an initial deposit with monthly charges. The overall objective of the policy is to construct 1 lakh dwelling units over the next five years in the UT. In other developments, the shifting of the land registration process in J&K from the judiciary to the Department of Registration created after the nullification of Article 370 has brought in earnings worth Rs 1 billion in stamp duty and registration fees.Since the creation of the department as part of the transition from state to UT, 77 sub-registrars have been appointed and nearly 25,000 land registrations done. However, the prices and sentiment are yet to pick up pace. Players already present are not witnessing any significant volumes. With regard to the housing policy, arranging finances and acquiring land are proposed to be accomplished by taking recourse to PPP. In simple words, the project needs private investment on a big scale besides funding from the Centre. There are concerns about the policy being too optimistic in its target. The key to its success, ultimately, lies in the involvement of private players and efficient execution.