New Delhi: Here`s another lofty project that`s crumbling: Realising that it could not meet the deadline set by the Narendra Modi dispensation of building houses for the poor, the Delhi government wants to drop the construction of 9,000 flats.
These flats are part of some 68,000 low-cost flats sanctioned by the previous United Progressive Alliance regime under its flagship Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewable Mission (JNNURM) scheme.
The estimated cost of these projects was Rs. 3,244 crore. Fifty percent of the amount had to be borne by the central government.
While the construction of 3,600 such flats has already been dropped, the Delhi government has written to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) to whittle down another 9,060 such units of the total 67,784.
If the central government accepts Delhi government`s proposal, after 3,600 flats already been junked, the number of dwelling units will come down to 55,124 from 67,784.
"While the construction of 3,600 flats at Kanjhawala was dropped, a proposal has been sent to the ministry (HUPA) to reduce more numbers," a Delhi government official told IANS.
Under the Basic Service to the Urban Poor - a sub mission of the JNNURM - the Congress-led UPA had approved the construction of some 68,000 flats as part of 17 projects for the economically weaker sections of society. Most of these projects are on the outskirts of Delhi.
After reviewing the progress of 17 low-cost housing projects in June, which it found "sluggish,", the ministry had asked the Delhi government to either speed up the ongoing projects or curtail those which have not started yet. IANS had reported the communication between the two governments June 15.
"It is because of several problems the construction work got stalled. Change of land use, forest clearances and other land disputes were the issues," another official told IANS on the condition of anonymity.
Launched in 2005, the first phase of JNNURM was to end in 2012. However, with over 50 percent of the projects remaining incomplete, it was extended till March 2014.
"Only six projects are complete till now and we have a new deadline of June 2015. It is better to cut down some of them which are stuck due to various reasons," he added.
Several agencies like the Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation, the Delhi Urban Slum Improvement Board, the Delhi Development Authority and the New Delhi Municipal Council were entrusted with the task.
All these 9,000 flats that are to be dropped are located in west Delhi and divided in five of the 17 projects.
A total of 6,480 flats had to be constructed at Poothkurd Phase I in Bawana by DSIIDC. But now the government wants to build only 3,840 flats.
In Phase II of the same project, it wants the number of housing units to be reduced from 7,720 to 6,000.
In Tikri Kalan, where 8,420 flats had to be constructed for slum dwellers, the government now wants to scrap 5,740 units.
In Sultanpuri, instead of building 1,180 flats, the government wants only 1,060 flats.
At Narela, construction of 4,740 flats was to take place. The Delhi government wants to bring it down to 2,840.
What is ironical, officials say, is that only 4,000 flats have been allotted, of which "only some 300 have been occupied".