Hyderabad :The Telangana State government, which has come up with trail-blazing and innovative schemes to benefit various sections of society in just three year, is on the threshold of realizing another dream – providing two bedroom houses for the poorer sections.
One of the flagship programmes of the government, the implementation of the 2BHK housing scheme, as it has come to be known, has made rapid stride in the past year.
This is evident from the fact that from September 2016 to September 2017, the expenditure incurred on the scheme has gone up 14-folds, from Rs 38.48 crore to Rs 529.84 crore. That’s not all, even the number of administrative sanctions accorded witnessed a four-fold increase – from 59,829 units to 2,06,518 units.
The massive progress, Telangana State Housing Corporation officials say, is mainly due to the keen interest taken by Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao to make the scheme a success despite criticism from the Opposition.
Speaking to Telangana Today, Principal Secretary (Housing) Chitra Ramachandran said: “The government has been actively promoting the 2BHK scheme. It is determined to ensure that there is proper housing for the weaker strata of the society.”
Another factor that indicates the government’s seriousness in completing the project as per schedule is the number of tenders it had called in the past year.
As against the 39,253 tenders called for in September last year, the figure has gone up to a whopping 1,78,913 tenders by the end of September 2017.
“We have begun construction of 68,564 housing units across the state and have finalized tenders for 1,19,422 more units,” said Er Ch Satya Murthy, chief engineer, Telagana State Housing Corporation Limited.
“The State government has been providing cement to the contractors at subsidized rates, following the agreement the State government had reached with the cement manufacturer’s association,” said Satya Murthy.
Any licensed builder who has an experience in executing projects even once in the last 10 years can be taken into consideration for eligibility and the cost of an ongoing project will also be considered as eligible for selection of contractors for the prestigious 2BHK scheme.
While the recently introduced Goods and Services Tax has resulted in increase in prices of some construction material inputs, the State has made efforts to ensure that the price rise does not impact the price of the units.
“In residential buildings, nearly 70 per cent of value is material component and the remaining 30 per cent is labour component. The contractors who are executing the works can avail an average of 5 to 8 per cent input tax credit on procurement of construction material,” he said.
Also, the Department has been procuring fly ash – used in making bricks – from the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) for free as part of its efforts to cut costs.
Given the efforts and sincerity of the government in completing the scheme, it should be smooth sailing for the project, an official said.
Idea conceived during T-struggle: Indrakaran Reddy
Housing Minister A Indrakaran Reddy is confident that the construction target of 2.7 lakh 2BHK houses in the State would be met during this fiscal.
Excerpts from his interview with Telangana Today:
Q: What is the progress of construction of 2BHK houses in the State?
Though the construction was moving at a slow pace initially, it was put on the fast track after frequent meetings with contractors, cement company owners and various other component suppliers.
Q: Is the government giving any subsidy to contractors as the 2BHK houses are being constructed at just Rs 5.04 lakh per unit in rural areas, Rs 5.03 in urban areas, and Rs 7-7.9 lakh in GHMC area?
Minister: Yes. To make the programme a grand success, the Chief Minister has decided to give cement at subsidised rate besides supplying sand free of cost.
Q: Is there any chance of increasing the number of houses?
Minister: We are facing a problem of land shortage especially in urban areas. If land is available readily, the government is ready to sanction more 2BHK houses. But our prime focus is to complete the ongoing constructions before the schedule time and hand them over to the beneficiaries. This year, we intend to construct 2.7 lakh 2BHK houses in the State including one lakh houses in GHMC area.
Q: Is there is any mechanism to monitor works at ground level?
Minister: As per schedule, construction of houses is going on in the State and every genuine person will get a house. The district in-charge Ministers, legislators and district collectors in every district are monitoring the construction works at the ground level at regular intervals.
2 BHK scheme in 109 places in GHMC
Determined to provide houses to the poorer sections in society, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) would soon complete assigning tenders for the one lakh 2BHK units being taken up by the State government in the capital city.
Officials said they have already completed the process of identifying locations for the 2BHK housing scheme besides calling for tenders for construction of the 1 lakh housing units.
Calling it a record achievement, GHMC Commissioner B Janardhan Reddy told Telangana Today: “We have already completed the tender process for the housing units, which will be constructed at an expenditure of Rs 6,015.78 crore.”
The civic body would be taking up construction of the 2BHK houses in 109 locations, while three colonies were already ready for the housewarming ceremony for the beneficiaries in Mansoorabad, Arukala Nancharamma Basthi and Lambadi Thanda at Nacharam.
With a view to expedite the process, the GHMC has already held a series of meetings with the South Central Railway (SCR) for acquiring land parcels belonging to the Railways to take up and complete the project.
According to source, the SCR has vacant lands available in Chilkalguda, Addagutta, Oliphanta Bridge and Mettuguda. However, the Railway Board, is yet to take a final call on the matter. The GHMC commissioner has requested the SCR general manager to expedite the issue at the earliest so that the civic body can take up the 2BHK project in the city.
Each house would be constructed at a cost of Rs.7 lakh. In case of cellar plus stilt and nine floor structure, the government has permitted the municipal corporation to increase the cost to Rs.7.90 lakh, depending on the site conditions and the differential amount, which has to be borne by the GHMC.
Districts ranked on performance
The Telangana State Housing Department, in a bid to promote healthy competition between district authorities in completing the 2BHK scheme, has come up with a new and unique method of ranking the districts based on their performance.
The ratings based on various parameters like calling for and finalizing tenders, grounding of works, work pace and units completed, is split into three categories – best performing districts, average performing districts and low performing districts. Interestingly, the 30 districts (excluding GHMC area limits) in the State are split equally in the three districts with 10 districts figuring in each category.
Going by the TSHCL figuress, the top spot in best performance has been secured by Siddipet district which has 76 per cent rating for implementation of the 2BHK project closely followed by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) limits with a performance rating of 70 per cent.
Karimnagar, Kamareddy, Khammam, Nizamabad, Rajanna Sircilla, Medchal-Malkajigiri, Bhadradri Kothagudem and Warangal (Urban) also figure in the top performing bracket.
“We have taken up this project with a sense of pride, and want to ensure that every family in the State has a roof over their head. The people of the State will surely remember the TRS administration as the government that delivers on its promises,” Minister for Housing A Indrakaran Reddy told Telangana Today.
The districts that fall under the average performing category are Mahbubnagar, Medak, Mahbubabad, Sangareddy, Jangaon, Jayashankar Bhupalpally, Suryapet, Peddapally, Adilabad and Warangal Rural.
The low performing districts are Nagar Kurnool, Jagtial, Wanaparthy, Nirmal, Nalgonda, Mancherial, Rangarreddy, Vikarabad, Kumaram Bheem Asifabad and Jogulamba Gadwal.
Citing shortage of eligible contractors to take up the works as the cause for some districts unable to keep pace, Ch Satya Murthy, chief engineer, TSHCL, said: “We have set high standards for the contractors to participate in the bids. That could be one reason why there are no or very few bidders for the project.”
Stating that the system (of performance rating) was not to demote or put down some officials, Murthy said it was introduced more to inculcate the spirit of competition among them.
And going by the available statistics, the rating system seems to working and more and more districts are expected to get into the top bracket soon.
Past schemes also on track
The State government is not just focusing on completion of the 2BHK housing scheme, but is also working towards completing all the pending housing projects of the erstwhile government’s as well.
The Telangana State Housing Corporation Limited (TSHCP) has, this year, taken up construction of 4.11 lakh housing units at a cost of Rs 87.64 crore. These housing units are part of Indira Awas Yojana and other schemes taken up by the erstwhile governments.
According to officials, the State government had taken a decision in 2014 to scrutinize the applications and beneficiaries of housing projects.
Speaking to Telangana Today, Principal Secretary, Housing Department, Chitra Ramchandran, said: “Programmes like Indira Awas Yojana had a beneficiary contribution, but the 2BHK programme does not take any money from the beneficiaries. However, we are conscious about providing homes to the right beneficiaries.”
While the 2BHK scheme aims at providing a dignified life to the beneficiaries, the State government did not want beneficiaries of other schemes to be dejected and wanted to complete the promises of the earlier governments as well, she said.
According to Venkat, a Superintending Engineer of the Corporation, as many as 10,661 such units have been completed. “The government is working towards expediting these works immediately. Since most of our workforce is currently working on completing the 2BHK project, there is a bit of a lag. But we are sure it will pick up pace and will be completed as soon as possible,” he said.