Home owner may add extra floors

The ministry of housing is considering a proposal that may allow home owners to add extra floor beyond prevailing norms on their existing properties by paying a fee to the local body. The money will be used for providing affordable housing to the economically weaker section. The proposal is based on the recommendations of the high-powered task force on affordable housing chaired by HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh.

“We are actively considering to allow expansion of the floor area ratio. FAR would be different for different cities depending on the demand,” a senior official in the ministry of housing ministry, who did not wish to be identified, said. FAR is specified by local bodies such as Municipal Corporation to restrict height of buildings in the area to protect environment and avoid undue pressure on civic amenities. The report recommends FAR relaxation only after ensuring its impact on the local habitation. “Given the environmental concerns, sustainable methodologies need to be developed,” it said.

According to the findings of the report, alleviating the urban housing shortage could raise the rate of GDP growth by at least 1-1.5%. The government has estimated that the total housing shortage during the entire 11th Five Year Plan (2007-12) would be around 26.53 million units.

The government is also considering the committee’s recommendation for resettlement of squatters and slum dwellers before public land is vacated. It had suggested that resettlement colonies could be built on PPP model. “The government may accept other recommendations of the Parekh Committee after assessing their impact,” the official said. The committee’s recommendation to establish a real estate regulator is under examination of the housing ministry. The creation of a regulatory agency will require enactment of the Real Estate Management and Regulation bill.

The bill is still lying with the urban development ministry. There is a view within the ministry to set up an arbitration body or ombudsman at the state level till the time a regulatory body is established.

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