The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rents of govt flats raised by 25 per cent

Calcutta, Nov. 22: The government will hike its house rents by 25 per cent and the new rates will be effective from January.

This is the second time since 1997 that the state government has decided to increase the rents of all its flats. However, in 1997, the hike was a whopping 100 per cent.

Housing minister Goutam Deb said today the government has 20,229 flats for lower- and middle-income groups. It receives Rs 3.47 crore as rent from these flats annually but to maintain the apartments, it has to shell out Rs 6.7 crore every year.

“We will get Rs 4.2 crore from the tenants after increasing the rents,” the minister said.

The government is also going to reintroduce licence fees on the flats used solely by its officials and employees. “We have 17,717 such flats across the state and we have decided to reintroduce the fees to earn some more revenue to cope with our financial crisis,” Deb said.

However, the minister also offered a major consolation for the government’s tenants. In future, it will offer ownerships to all of them, he said.

The government has already given ownership to the tenants of its housing estate on B.T. Road. There are 64 flats in the estate and 58 tenants living there have agreed to purchase the flats from the government. “They will have to pay for their houses in instalments over four years and will not be allowed to sell them before clearing the payments,” said Deb.

“We will also offer ownerships to those living in government flats at Maniktola, Raja Manindra Road, Cossipore Road, Karaya Road, Belgachia Housing Estate, Belgachia Villa and the Sodepur Industrial Housing Estate. The government will sell off all its flats to their present occupants in the long run,” the housing minister said.

It is also planning to table amendments to the Promoters’ Act in the Assembly session beginning December 9. The changes will lead to some more restrictions on them, said Deb.

The act has already been implemented in areas under the Calcutta Municipal Corporation and 320 promoters have got themselves registered with the government. In all, 435 promoters from Calcutta had applied for the registration.

The minister said the Act now lacks provisions for severe punishment on promoters for a fault on their part in the construction of multi-storeyed buildings.

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