Unsold EWS flats to be auctioned to general buyers
Under a new policy for EWS housing, the Department of Town and Country Planning (DTCP) has decided that if the houses meant for beneficiaries eligible under these categories are not allotted despite repeated efforts, then these would be sold to general category applicants through an e-auction.
Under the policy for economically weaker sections (EWS), developers have to reserve 20% of the total number of plots in plotted housing projects and 15% of flats in group housing projects. The area of the plots will be between 50 and 125 square metres and the area of flats will range between 200 square feet and 400 square feet, the policy stipulates.
In the policy document, the principal secretary of TCP has given a special dispensation for the sale of such units to the open category, as it noted that despite repeated efforts, the housing board of Haryana has not received an adequate response from EWS/BPL beneficiaries in the last two years. As per the new mechanism, the policy states that one last and final opportunity will be given to targeted beneficiaries after which the remaining inventory, if any, may be sold to general open category beneficiaries of the Haryana domicile.
The policy, which was notified on February 26, further states that in the future, two attempts shall be made by Housing Board, Haryana, to sell the new properties transferred by developers under the EWS category, to the targeted beneficiaries. “Thereafter, these properties may be sold by the boards to general/open category beneficiaries of Haryana domicile. Sale of all such properties shall be by way of an open e-auction widely advertised on print and electronic media,” it stated.
The policy also allows housing units to be earmarked for rental housing.
As per an estimate of the DTCP, there are around 50,000 plots and units that have been developed under the EWS category in the past three decades. Earlier, these units were allotted by developers themselves but in 2018, the Haryana government decided that EWS units should be transferred by developers to the Haryana Housing Board, which shall allot these plots and flats to the eligible applicants.
DTCP officials in Gurugram, meanwhile, said that this policy would help in increasing housing supply and curb illegal colonisation as a number of buyers of smaller units are buying properties in illegal colonies.
RS Bhath, district town planner, enforcement, said that it would be a wise strategy for the housing board to sell these units to general category applicants if there are not enough buyers from the EWS category, as there is a high demand for affordable units. “As the size of these units is smaller, there would be a lot of buyers for such properties in an e-auction. Also, selling them would give more option to buyers who are end-users and have low buying capacity, particularly in Gurugram, where property prices are higher,” he said.
Vinod Behl, a city-based real estate expert said that this policy would increase the availability of such units in cities and attract more interest from all buyers. “The key to the success of this policy is strict monitoring and implementation. This will also boost rental housing for low-income workers, who need such housing, but can’t buy houses in the city,” he said. However, he cautioned that checks and balances must remain effective.
Buyers looking for cheaper options and smaller properties, meanwhile, said that it was almost impossible to get an EWS unit without a premium till a few years ago as private developers were engaged in the allotment. “I can recall how hundreds of EWS plots and flats were sold and bought by individuals who were not eligible. The e-auction system would also bring transparency,” said Anup Kumar, a mechanic, who is looking to buy a small unit.