The Telegraph
Friday , August 26 , 2011
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Gogoi shuns metros as role models
- CM slams capital-centric growth, wants smaller towns to develop as much as big cities

Guwahati, Aug. 25: Dilli durast, as is Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai and Calcutta. The metros hold little meaning for Assam when it comes to developing its cities.

“I have seen all the metros in the country. They have more civic and traffic problems than other cities of the world. They cannot be a model for Guwahati or other cities of the state to grow,” said chief minister Tarun Gogoi during the inaugural function of the first Northeast realty expo organised by Assam Real Estate and Infrastructure Developers Associations (AREIDA) at Maniram Dewan Trade centre here today.

Criticising capital-centric development, Gogoi said he wanted the growth of the entire state. “If we look at other states, we find that development is taking place only in the capital. But here I want to emphasise on the lesser known towns as well,” he said.

Praising traditional architecture like the Assam-type house, the chief minister said, “During my visit abroad, I found they have preserved their architecture and still build houses conforming to that. Earlier, we had beautiful Assam-type houses. Nowadays, buildings are coming up everywhere.”

Gogoi said real estate and infrastructure developers should also keep in mind that the state was located in a high seismic zone. “The buildings should be such that they can withstand earthquakes and for that we need people with knowledge about the latest in the field of architecture and designing.” He also said the use of indigenous material like bamboo should be encouraged.

The session also stressed on housing infrastructure for lower and middle-income groups. “The cost of buildings has skyrocketed to such an extent that it has become impossible for people of lower and middle income groups to afford it. We would like to request the government to look into problems like land and taxes and take measures to curb the rising cost of housing,” AREIDA president P.K. Sharma said and added that vertical extension was the only plausible solution to the problem of housing in the city.

“We need some proper planning,” Sharma said and suggested that special zones, not very conducive for agricultural use, be earmarked for residential use. He urged the government to reduce taxes to bring down the cost of infrastructure, as labour charges, land cost and cost of construction material could not be controlled.

“The registration charge for apartments in the state is 8.5 per cent which is high compared to the registration charges in other cities of the country. Dispur needs to reduce registration charge,” he said.

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