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40 dwelling units to be built for Rajya Sabha Secretariat employees in R.K. Puram

To address the acute housing shortage for the employees of Rajya Sabha Secretariat, 40 dwelling units will be constructed in the prime Sector 12, R.K. Puram in the national capital.

Chairman of Rajya Sabha, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu today laid the Foundation Stone for the Rs. 46 Crore housing complex by remotely unveiling the plaque from Uprashtrapati Niwas.  Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs and Civil Aviation Shri Hardeep Singh Puri was present on the occasion.

Speaking after the unveiling, Shri Naidu expressed concern over the inordinate delay in putting the prime land to use that was allotted for the Secretariat as early as in 2003, even as the Secretariat employees were reeling under acute housing shortage.  He said that the long period of 17 years taken for launching the housing project resulted in avoidable costs for the Secretariat. Shri Naidu referred to the social-economic-legal-administrative cobwebs that resulted in non-utilisation of precious land resource.

The Chairman referred to several rounds of meetings he held over the last two years with the Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Shri Puri, Secretary (Housing and Urban Affairs) Shri Durga Shankar Mishra,senior officials of the Delhi Government, DDA, DUSIB, Land and Development Officer and others concerned to remove the hurdles in the way of utilization of the land parcel. Besides, Shri Naidu also spoke to the Lt. Governor Shri Anil Baijal and the Chief Minister of Delhi Shri Arvind Kejriwal in this regard.

Shri Naidu further said that if the 8,700 Sq. Mtrs of precious land allotted for the Rajya Sabha Secretariat in 2003 by the Directorate of Estates against payment was put to use  for the intended purpose in time,  the Secretariat could  have benefitted significantly in the form of House Rent Allowance besides recovering substantial portion of the investment in the housing project by now. Referring to the huge annual rent of Rs. 30 Crore being paid by the Secretariat for locating RSTV in the NDMC Complex, relocation of the channel  at the R.K. Puram land would have also benefitted substantially, he said.

Presenting the consequences of delay in utilizing the land in perspective, Shri Naidu stated that the housing demand of the employees of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat is being met only to the extent of 38% as against the housing demand satisfaction of 67% in case of the Central Government Employees in Delhi.  Informing that the housing shortage in respect of Type-III and Type-IV quarters for the employees of the Secretariat is of the order of 72%, Shri Naidu said that 32 Type-III and 28 Type-IV quarters will be built in the first phase of the housing complex at R.K. Puram over an area of 4024 Sq. Mtrs. For the 1,400 officers and staff of the Secretariat, only 536 housing units are available at present.

Noting that provisioning of housing close to the work place motivates the employees to give out their best, Shri Naidu expressed concern over inadequate housing availability for the employees of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat given their long and arduous working hours, particularly, when the House is in session.

Recalling his association with the enactment of the Real Estate Regulation and Development Act, 2016 as the then Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Shri Naidu said that this far reaching legislation has certainly made a difference to the real estate sector reeling under the crisis of credibility but still more needs to be done by all the stakeholders to give a fillip to the sector.

Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Shri Hardeep Singh Puri assured the Chairman  that though the NBCC has indicated a three year period for the completion of the housing complex, given the housing shortage, all efforts will be made to complete the project well ahead of the time. He informed that the Housing For All Mission in urban areas launched in 2016 has been progressing well with 1.07 Crore houses already sanctioned  and the target of 1.12 Crore houses to be met very soon, much ahead of the target of 2022. He further informed that 35 lakh houses built in urban areas under this mission have been already taken possession and another 65 lakh houses are under construction.

Shri Puri noted that “The interest and commitment shown by the Rajya Sabha Chairman over the last two years succeeded in resolving  a number of issues in utilizing the land which seemed at one  stage difficult to surmount.” The Minister assured that the remaining piece of land would also be  made available for taking up the second phase of the housing complex for the Rajya Sabha Secretariat employees at the earliest possible.

Secretary General of Rajya Sabha Shri Desh Deepak Verma, Secretary Dr. P.P.K. Ramacharyulu, CMD of NBCC Shri P.K. Gupta and senior officials of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and the Rajya Sabha Secretariat were present on the occasion

The following is the full text of the speech:

Hon’ble Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs and Civil Aviation and Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Shri Hardeep Singh Puri ji, Rajya Sabha Secretary General Shri Desh Deepak Verma, Secretary to the Government of India Shri Durga Shanker Mishra, senior officials of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs !

Today’s event of laying the Foundation Stone for the Housing Complex for the employees of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat is unique on two counts. The first one being the virtual nature of it and the second being the inordinate delay in putting to good use the prime land allocated for the secretariat in the up market R.K.Puram in the national capital, 17 years ago, even as the employees have been reeling under acute shortage of housing.

With the rapid explosion of technology, virtual has emerged as a substitute for the real and  the corona virus outbreak has pushed it even further making the virtual more real. The virus induced new normal of life required us to be far away from the site of construction and unveil the foundation stone as a virtual reality. That is the only way of coping with the change forced upon us by the virus and the attendant COVID-19 pandemic.

The second unique feature of today’s event relates to the stark revelation about the complexities involved in putting a big parcel of  prime land in the national capital for intended use, resulting in non-utilization of such precious resources over a long period of time.  During the last two years of handling this matter, I have been amazed by the social-economic-legal-administrative issues and hurdles that come in the way

A parcel of land of 8,700 square metres was allotted to the Rajya Sabha Secretariat by the Ministry of Urban Development for housing purpose as early as in 2003 on ‘as is where is’ basis, with some encroachments on the land. I am not fully conversant with the efforts made in the  past to put it to the intended use in time.

When I came to know of the acute shortage of housing for the secretariat employees and availability of this land in R.K.Puram, I have been at it for the last two years to bring it under use. As Chairman of Rajya Sabha, I have held several rounds of meetings with the Minister Shri Puri, his Secretary Shri Mishra, Land and Development Officer (L&DO), officials of DDA, Delhi Government, DUSIB  and others. I even spoke to the Lt.Governor of Delhi and the Chief Minister of Delhi. Finally, we are here today. More than half of the allotted land is still to be cleared for taking up the second phase of housing complex for the secretariat employees.

This long period of 17 years taken to lay the foundation stone falls into perspective when viewed against the acute shortage of housing for the secretariat employees. An early action would have resulted in substantial savings for the Rajya Sabha Secretariat in the form of House Rent Allowance. Substantial part of the investment would have been realized by now. The secretariat has been paying huge annual rent of about Rs.30 cr for locating RSTV in the NDMC building. Relocating the channel at this place also would have benefitted substantially.

For the 1,400 officers and employees of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat, the housing demand is being met only to the extent of 38% indicating a huge shortage of 62%. We have only 536 housing units to meet the housing demand. These include 105 housing units built by the secretariat at INA market and 431 units provided by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs under the Departmental Pool.

As against this low level of housing demand satisfaction for the employees of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat, the central government employees in the national capital are better placed with a overall demand satisfaction of 67%.

For the secretariat employees, the housing shortage  of the magnitude of 72% is more acute in respect of Type III and Type IV category houses. The shortage in case of central government employees in Delhi in this regard is only about 42% and 21% respectively.

Accordingly, we have decided to build 60 housing units including 32 Type III and 28 Type IV houses over a land parcel of 4,024 sq.metres at an estimated cost  of about Rs.46 cr. NBCC has furnished the Detailed Project Report for this first phase of housing complex at R.K.Puram. This complex will have two blocks, one with Ground plus 7 floors and the other with Ground plus 13 floors as per the FSI norms.

This project is being taken up in compliance with GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment) norms. It will have features like roof top solar power generation, monolithic framework of construction, intelligent building management system, double basement for car parking etc.

Provisioning of housing and preferably, close to the work place acts as a motivator for the employees to give out their best. I regret to note that the housing demand satisfaction for the employees of Rajya Sabha Secretariat is very low, despite their long and arduous nature of duties, and particularly, when the House is in session. I was keen to address this problem to the extent possible and it took two years even for me to reach this stage. I am relieved by it. I hope that we would be able to take up the second phase over the remaining land parcel at the earliest.

Given the acute shortage of housing for the secretariat employees, I request the Minister Shri Puri and his team of officials to consider the proposal of the secretariat to make my housing units available under the Department Pool.

Friends !

With rapid increase in urbanization in our country as elsewhere, the demand for housing is set to rise sharply. Being aware of this, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi thought of the Housing For All Mission in Urban Areas.  I have had the honour of conceptualizing and launching this mission  for Urban Areas in June, 2015 with a target of building over one crore housing units in urban areas as per the assessment at that time.

Given my keen interest in the subject, I have been closely following the progress of this housing mission. I am glad to note that it has been doing very well under the guidance of Minister Shri Puri, who have succeeded me in the ministry.

Real estate sector is the second largest source of employment  after agriculture. This sector has run into several problems for various reasons including the questionable operations of fly by night players, eroding the confidence of the consumers and the credibility of this important sector, in the process. This needed to be addressed in right earnest. I am also happy to be associated with the enactment of the Real Estate Regulation and Development Act  in 2016 as the then minister. I have reasons to believe that this act has certainly made a difference to the sector.

Land is a very precious and resource in urban areas. it shall be  made effective use instead of keeping it as a dead resource for long. All concerned need to draw right lessons from the experience of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat  in bringing this land into use after a long delay and endeavor to remove the cob webs  that come in the way.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the vulnerability of the poor and the migrant workers with regard to housing which is an integral component of the Right to Life. I am glad to know that the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has redoubled its efforts to address this problem.

I am happy to lay the Foundation Stone for the first phase of housing complex in R.K.Puram for the benefit of the employees of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat.

I take this opportunity to place on record my appreciation for the cooperation extended by the Minister Shri Puri, Secretary Shri Mishra, Lt.Governor and Chief Minister of Delhi and others concerned  in reaching this stage.

I also compliment all the Secretary General and other concerned senior officials of Rajya Sabha Secretariat for their efforts in this regard.

Thank you all !

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