Shanty dwellers displaced for projects to get cheap apartments from Mamata govt

The Amar Bari (my home) scheme launched by the Mamata Banerjee government will have apartments measuring around 285 square feet.

kolkata Updated: Nov 01, 2017 15:00 IST
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Mamata Banerjee,West Bengal,West Bengal government
Apartments under construction in Ludhiana. The West Bengal government has approved a cheap housing scheme that will help shanty dwellers. (HT file photo / Representative)

The West Bengal government has given nod to a cheap housing scheme for poor people who have been displaced from shanties in urban areas because of new development projects.

The scheme, named Amar Bari (my home) by chief minister Mamata Banerjee, was approved by the state cabinet on October 30.

The beneficiaries will be allotted apartments for which registration fee and stamp duty will be nominal.

State parliamentary affairs and education minister Partha Chatterjee told HT that each apartment will cover around 285 square feet.

“The housing department will develop multi-storey buildings in areas selected in different cities and towns. The department will work out details of the project and set a deadline for its completion,” said Chatterjee, who is also the Trinamool Congress secretary general.

The housing scheme is supposed to help shanty dwellers who were affected by different urban development projects such as the East-West Metro and several flyovers and beautification programmes.

“The very name of the scheme should make the beneficiaries feel proud as property owners. This is a unique scheme in the country because the apartments will come virtually free of cost,” said Chatterjee.

The buildings will come up on vacant plots either owned by the state housing department or the West Bengal Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (HIDCO).

The scheme, state officials said, is aimed at redressing the controversial issue of rehabilitation for victims of development.

Significantly, the Mamata Banerjee government has stubbornly stuck to its policy of not having any role in acquisition of land for industry and infrastructure.

Ever since she took over as chief minister in 2011, Banerjee has always asked private investors to buy their own land. This policy has often drawn criticism from the industry and even been described as “unfriendly” to investors.

A housing department official who preferred to remain anonymous (only a minister is authorised to speak to the media on a cabinet decision) said certain pockets in Rajarhat-New Town in the eastern fringe of Kolkata, Kidderpore and Chetla areas in south Kolkata and a few plots under the Howrah Municipal Corporation have been identified for the low-cost housing project.

“All these are vested lands. Hence, availability of land will not be a problem,” he said.

First Published: Nov 01, 2017 14:59 IST