Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dream Destruction Authority

How DDA housing scheme 2008 turns out to be a big farce..

A few months back when the process of submission of application forms was going on for the DDA Housing Scheme 2008, I came across many who were filling the application form with nearly a hope of their lifetime to get a booking even while knowing well, that, the chances for that were less than one in a 100, given the number of applications that were submitted. Yet, the queues outside some designated banks, who were distributing forms, vindicated that in India’s busiest cosmopolitan cities getting a decent and affordable housing is still like getting a lottery. But people didn’t give up their hopes and expected against all odds for the next best alternative to purchase a similar accommodation would cost nothing less than Rs 25-35 lakh and that too in some of the remotest corners of the National Capital Region (NCR). A similar thing in south Delhi would be in crores!!! And this hope is not just about getting a privately owned accommodation but of becoming an instant millionaire. The market price of something similar to what DDA has offered is at least five times more that what DDA is asking for. So, the ones who got allotments literally hit the jackpot as in the absence of a lock-in period they can instantly sell it off to a property dealer for hard cash worth half a crore. That man would then not mind to start a living again in a rented accommodation because that DDA flat, which he had been allotted, would have already served its purpose. And in a country where artificial scarcity is perennially made in terms of housing, thanks to distorted land policies, such things are bound to happen time and again. In fact, the very decision to make 5000 flats in a city where millions are in a need of decent accommodation is like a big farce. It's needless to say that the objective of DDA was never to do away with the housing crisis of the city but to encash it.

A back of envelope calculations show that DDA managed to earn nothing less than Rs 12.50 crore just by selling the forms (12 lakh forms at Rs 100 each) and an additional Rs 130 crore as an interest on booking amount of Rs 1.50 lakh (Rs 45 crore per month at six per cent interest), considering around 5.5 lakh applications were filled. Further, there have been reports and complaints that suggest that allotments were pseudo-fixed. A glimpse through the final allotment list substantiates that around 150-160 flats have been allotted against a single family name residing in the same area. DDA is just carrying forward the legacy of India where the rich and influential have always hijacked schemes meant for the common man. The DDA scheme or the scam is just like the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), mid-day meal or the farm loan waiver scheme. It's intriguing that in an era where volume business is reducing the price of most consumer goods, our government and its policies have only helped to take the price of housing northward. While, lands are being allotted to real estate developers to develop premium shopping malls or exquisite flats (with indulgence like golf course) for the richest, one wonders why the same land cannot be used to build high-rise buildings with basic accommodation facilities for the common man who doesn’t need a golf course or a helipad. But then that would not fetch organisations like DDA thousands of crores that it makes by selling land to landsharks who control the real estate cartels at the cost of keeping the common man homeless. And thus, that would not happen...


No comments:

Post a Comment