New Delhi: At a time when only one percent of India's population can afford a house above Rs 10 lakh, the government is not only committed to building smart cities but also to offer affordable houses below Rs 5 lakh, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari today said.
"Low cost housing is very important. The biggest impediment is that in our country there are only one percent people who can buy houses above Rs 10 lakh. If we make available houses at a cost below Rs 5 lakh, 30 percent people can buy that," Road Transport Highways and Shipping Minister Gadkari said at Assocham's 'Smart City' summit here.
He said apart from focus on building smart cities, providing affordable houses to the poorest of the poor also tops the agenda of the Narendra Modi government.
Under one such venture, an experiment has been done in Nagpur to construct a house on steel structure using 70 percent fly ash, which will be inaugurated on February 20.
"The construction cost of the building comes at Rs 1000 a square feet. We will be able to provide 450 square feet house in Rs 5 lakh. We are installing solar system in that besides furniture including bed made of fly ash.
"A subsidy of Rs 1.5 lakh would be given on it. The cost of the house will be Rs 3.5 lakh and loan will be available for 7 to 7.5 percent interest rate...Even a poor can buy that," the minister said.
The government will not only make smart cities but is also committed to developing the existing cities as per the modern-day requirements. Ten out of 12 major ports will have smart cities.
"Barring Kolkata and Mumbai, smart cities would be developed at our 10 ports," he said.
He also urged the investors to come forward to set up smart cities under PPP(public private partnership), with the government ready to offer land, besides clearances in a transparent manner.
India has 12 major ports - Kandla, Mumbai, JNPT, Mormugao, New Mangalore, Cochin, Chennai, Ennore, V O Chidambaranar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata (including Haldia) which handle approximately 61 percent of the country's total cargo traffic.