The state government will be getting a few lessons in affordable and public housing from the European Union (EU).
As the final decision on Dharavi redevelopment has been kept in abeyance, the state’s Chief Secretary J.P. Dange and Housing Secretary Sitaram Kunte are going for a five-day study tour, on Sunday, to Spain and France.
They will interact with housing experts and officials there.
So what’s common between European cities like Madrid, Paris and Mumbai? Nothing really, admit officials.
“It’s an official Government of India tour. Kunte and Dange are accompanying a delegation of around 20 officials, architects and housing experts to the EU where they will share housing concerns,” said a senior official from the state secretariat.
The delegation is expected to study public housing schemes in Madrid and Paris, besides undertaking field visits to eco housing townships and affordable housing blocks.
In Spain, public housing is based on heavily subsidised ownership houses while in France the pattern is for subsidised rental homes.
France’s policy for low-income housing can be tracked since1950 and it has a mandatory reservation of 20 per cent in all towns for low income housing.
But, the extent of the urban poor and housing in Mumbai is incomparable with either France or Spain. Around 60 per cent of the city lives in slums.
“The socio-economic problems in Spain and France are not comparable to Mumbai, so the only advantage if at all by going on this tour is to understand new technology in building houses. Nothing will help create low-cost housing in Mumbai because of the unaffordable land cost and poor political will,’’ said V Ranganathan, former state chief secretary.
“Unless, the state facilitates urbanisation in further off suburbs, makes cheaper land available to the poor, this problem will persist. A tour to EU cities is unlikely to help.”