Noida, Greater Noida authorities fail to construct houses for the urban poor
Failure of the authority to develop housing facilities for the EWS and LIG persons has caused an urban mess as domestic helps and factory workers are forced to stay in unauthorised localities on Hindon floodplains, government land, urban villages or nearby slums.Updated: Mar 27, 2018 17:44 IST
Notwithstanding the directions of the national capital region planning board (NCRPB), the Greater Noida authority has failed to allocate 20%-25% land in each sector for developing housing facilities for those from the economically weaker sections (EWS) and low income group (LIG). These groups mostly comprise domestic helps, security staff and industrial workers.
Failure of the authority to develop housing facilities for the EWS and LIG persons has caused an urban mess as domestic helps and factory workers are forced to stay in unauthorised localities on Hindon floodplains, government land, urban villages or nearby slums.
Since the government never planned housing facilities for EWS and LIG, they buy cheap residential plots on the floodplains, take a room on rent in unauthorised areas or simply set up shanties wherever they find a space thereby creating sanitation issues and putting an additional burden on city’s civic infrastructure.
The NCRPB, in July 2012, directed the Greater Noida authority to make changes to its Master Plan 2021, a blueprint for urban development.
The authority had been directed to ensure that 20% to 25% of the group housing projects are set aside for EWS and LIG persons as against the earlier provision of 5% only.
“The Greater Noida authority officials never bothered to ensure each residential or industrial sector reserve 20%-25% of land for weaker sections or low income group people. Following our repeated complaints on violations, the NCRPB on April 24, 2017, once again directed the Greater Noida authority to ensure a provision of 20%-25 % housing for weaker sections and low income group,” Anil Kumar Garg, a Noida-based social activist, said.
Since its formation in 1992, the Greater Noida authority has only built around 10,000 EWS/LIG flats for the urban poor. In the same period, it has allowed the construction of around 6 lakh flats for middle-class and high-income groups, officials said.
“We have built more than 10,000 flats for the low-income group people. Fifty per cent of these flats are yet to be occupied because the low-income group cannot afford a flat that cost from ₹3.5 lakh to ₹7 lakh. They cannot easily take home loans due to non-availability of adequate documents such as income proof, address proof, etc. We have also directed the builders to construct flats for weaker sections,” KK Singh general manager (projects), Greater Noida authority, said.
However, builders have not built flats for the weaker sections as it is not profitable, officials said.
“Greater Noida was not supposed to repeat the urban town planning mistakes that were committed while developing Noida. As the Greater Noida and Noida authorities failed to build houses for the weaker sections, the twin cities have become the hub of unauthorised colonies in villages and on the floodplains of Hindon, which are damaging the river,” Raghuraj Singh, a Congress leader, who is fighting a case in the Allahabad high court seeking planned development in this region, said.
The Noida authority has built 2,760 units for the economic weaker sections, 4,952 flats for factory workers and 1,010 for the low-income group, which are yet to be allotted.
“We had built flats for the low-income group and the economically weaker sections in several areas. The poor generally prefer to live in villages as they get houses for rent at low rates. As a result, there was never a demand for these houses. Therefore, the authority never looked into this aspect,” Ashok Mishra, chief architect and urban town planner, Noida authority, said.
Around 3 lakh people belonging to the EWS live in slums, villages or other illegal settlements in Noida.
The Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA), which is to acquire land and allot the same for development along the 165km Yamuna Expressway, is also not bothered to earmark 20%-25% area for the extremely weaker sections.
“We have built around 5,000 flats for the weaker sections. We do not have a plan to allot more flats for the EWS or the LIG people because as there are no takers for such flats. If there is no demand, then why should we build such flats?” Arun Vir Singh, chief executive officer, YEIDA, said.