Land constraints hit Himachal Urban Development Authority to meet housing demand

Shimla: Scramble for having a summer cottage or apartment in the hills getting intense. Himachal Urban Development Authority (HIMUDA) is saddled with more applications than dwellings it can construct for want of land availability.

Speaking about the mismatch, Ganesh Dutt, vice-chairman HIMUDA said, “in response to a recent demand survey, we received over 69,500 applications for plots or flats but constraints of available land, we may not be able to provide any plots.”

Despite a large housing demand for Shimla with there being as many as 11455 applicants, HIMUDA has barely been able to zero down on buying 125 bighas of land.

Dutt says that negotiations for buy this piece of land and 100 bighas of land near Dharampur in Solan was in the final stages.

Applications in the demand survey were only accepted with an upfront booking amount of Rs 5000 and HIMUDA is sitting on a hefty Rs 35 Crore collection but is struggling to meet the needs.

Solan has a house demand from 5604 applicants, Hamirpur from 4921, Una 4906, Kasauli 4291, Dharamshala 4273, Mandi 3733, Parwanoo 3405, Baddi 2941, Kullu 2403, Palampur 2273 and for Manali there were 2069 applicants.

Besides this, there was considerable demand at sub-division levels also but Dutt said, “a scattered demand may not make a housing project viable in many places.”

Heavy demand notwithstanding, the government has to take a call on scrapping the controversial HP Apartments Act as a Vidhan Sabha committee came up with loopholes that were being violated by private builders.

A congress member of the committee, Sukwinder Sukku said, “besides allegations of benami deals, we found that many apartments were being sold simply on general power of attorney (GPA) basis and the government was losing much revenue for no registration fee being charged on such deals.”

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post. Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.

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