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Flaws hit state housing plan

Nine months after the Bihar State Housing Board (BSHB) passed a proposal for constructing 25,000 flats in the state, including 10,000 in Patna, the chief secretary has returned it, citing flaws in the conceptualisation of the schemes.

Chief secretary Navin Kumar has returned the proposal to the urban development department with several remarks and has sought a fresh proposal along with a detailed project report within a month. In reply, the department minister, Prem Kumar, said the fresh proposal would be submitted within the stipulated time.

In a meeting on November 28, 2011, the BSHB approved the scheme of construction of around 25,000 new flats in the state on a public-private partnership (PPP) mode.

In the first week of March this year, the finance department cleared the proposal and sent it to the chief secretary. After a review by the chief minister, the proposal was to be sent to the state cabinet for final approval.

The chief secretary told The Telegraph: Considering requirements in the conceptualisation of the schemes, the housing board proposal has been returned to the urban development department with corresponding remarks. The department has been asked to submit the fresh proposal by incorporating the requisite additions/modifications within a month.

Minister Kumar said: These kinds of requirements are usually sought by senior officials when they review any project. This is the first time that housing projects in Bihar would be executed in PPP mode. Hence, our department would furnish the required information within a month through BSHB. I assure that this development would in no way affect the project and it would be executed as expected.

Though the housing board schemes are a good initiative taken for developing dwellings in the state, the proposal lacks some basic groundwork. For instance, the proposal has not been submitted with the corresponding detailed project report. Many people are still staying in the existing buildings, which need to give way to new housing units. However, the housing board proposal does not clearly establish the manner in which these occupants would be rehabilitated and the feasibility of the overall execution of the schemes, Kumar told The Telegraph.

Sources said around 60 to 70 per cent of the firms, who had replied to the expression of interest in May, 2011 have backtracked owing to the delay in passing of the proposal.

The board had offered 12 sites in Patna and 21 sites in Gaya, Bhagalpur and Muzaffarpur and six other cities for development/renovation.

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