Chairman of Rajya Sabha, M. Venkaiah Naidu today laid the Foundation Stone for the Rs. 46 Crore housing complex by remotely unveiling the plaque from Uprashtrapati Niwas. Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs and Civil Aviation Shri Hardeep Singh Puri was present on the occasion.
Speaking after the unveiling, M Venkaiah Naidu expressed concern over the inordinate delay in putting the prime land to use that was allotted for the Secretariat as early as in 2003, even as the Secretariat employees were reeling under acute housing shortage. He said that the long period of 17 years taken for launching the housing project resulted in avoidable costs for the Secretariat. Shri Naidu referred to the social-economic-legal-administrative cobwebs that resulted in non-utilisation of precious land resource.
The Chairman referred to several rounds of meetings he held over the last two years with the Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Shri Puri, Secretary (Housing and Urban Affairs) Shri Durga Shankar Mishra, senior officials of the Delhi Government, DDA, DUSIB, Land and Development Officer and others concerned to remove the hurdles in the way of utilization of the land parcel. Besides, Shri Naidu also spoke to the Lt. Governor Shri Anil Baijal and the Chief Minister of Delhi Shri Arvind Kejriwal in this regard.
Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu further said that if the 8,700 Sq. Mtrs of precious land allotted for the Rajya Sabha Secretariat in 2003 by the Directorate of Estates against payment was put to use for the intended purpose in time, the Secretariat could have benefitted significantly in the form of House Rent Allowance besides recovering substantial portion of the investment in the housing project by now. Referring to the huge annual rent of Rs. 30 Crore being paid by the Secretariat for locating RSTV in the NDMC Complex, relocation of the channel at the R.K. Puram land would have also benefitted substantially, he said.
Presenting the consequences of delay in utilizing the land in perspective, M Venkaiah Naidu stated that the housing demand of the employees of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat is being met only to the extent of 38% as against the housing demand satisfaction of 67% in case of the Central Government Employees in Delhi. Informing that the housing shortage in respect of Type-III and Type-IV quarters for the employees of the Secretariat is of the order of 72%, M Venkaiah Naidu said that 32 Type-III and 28 Type-IV quarters will be built in the first phase of the housing complex at R.K. Puram over an area of 4024 Sq. Mtrs. For the 1,400 officers and staff of the Secretariat, only 536 housing units are available at present.
Noting that provisioning of housing close to the work place motivates the employees to give out their best, M Venkaiah Naidu expressed concern over inadequate housing availability for the employees of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat given their long and arduous working hours, particularly, when the House is in session.
Recalling his association with the enactment of the Real Estate Regulation and Development Act, 2016 as the then Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, M Venkaiah Naidu said that this far reaching legislation has certainly made a difference to the real estate sector reeling under the crisis of credibility but still more needs to be done by all the stakeholders to give a fillip to the sector.
Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Shri Hardeep Singh Puri assured the Chairman that though the NBCC has indicated a three year period for the completion of the housing complex, given the housing shortage, all efforts will be made to complete the project well ahead of the time. He informed that the Housing For All Mission in urban areas launched in 2016 has been progressing well with 1.07 Crore houses already sanctioned and the target of 1.12 Crore houses to be met very soon, much ahead of the target of 2022. He further informed that 35 lakh houses built in urban areas under this mission have been already taken possession and another 65 lakh houses are under construction.
Hardeep Singh Puri noted that "The interest and commitment shown by the Rajya Sabha Chairman over the last two years succeeded in resolving a number of issues in utilizing the land which seemed at one stage difficult to surmount." The Minister assured that the remaining piece of land would also be made available for taking up the second phase of the housing complex for the Rajya Sabha Secretariat employees at the earliest possible.
Secretary General of Rajya Sabha Shri Desh Deepak Verma, Secretary Dr. P.P.K. Ramacharyulu, CMD of NBCC Shri P.K. Gupta and senior officials of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and the Rajya Sabha Secretariat were present on the occasion