NEW DELHI: Over 47,500 small housing units being built by the Delhi government for slum-dwellers have now been ordered by the Centre to be used under their Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHCs) scheme, city PWD Minister Satyendar Jain said on Wednesday. Out of these 47,511 houses, a large number of units have been built, and many others are under construction.

The Delhi PWD minister shared the details during a press conference here, and in response to a question said that new housing facilities will have to be built now for those residing in slums and JJ colonies.

According to a plan, the Delhi government was building these low-cost houses to relocate those living in slums.

“We had written to the Centre on this issue and a meeting was also held. But the Union Cabinet has taken a decision and the Centre has ordered that these 47,511 houses to be used now only under the affordable rental housing scheme,” Jain told reporters.

The Delhi minister later also tweeted about the issue.

According to the website of the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, ARHCs will provide ease of living to urban migrants and poor in industrial sector as well as in non-formal urban economy to get access to dignified affordable rental housing close to their workplace.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in reverse migration of urban migrants and poor in the country. Urban migrants stay in slums, informal settlements, unauthorised colonies, peri-urban areas to save cost on housing. They need decent rental housing at affordable rate at their work sites, the website said.

In order to address this need, the ministry has initiated Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHCs), a sub-scheme under Pradhan Mantri AWAS Yojana- Urban (PMAY-U), it added.

Beneficiaries for ARHCs are urban migrants and poor from EWS or LIG categories. ARHCs will be a mix of single or double bedroom dwelling units and dormitory of 4-6 beds, including all common facilities which will be exclusively used for rental housing for a minimum period of 25 years, the website said.

Jain said for 9,104 units of the total number of houses, several departments have also given relocation charges for and many people have and submitted their payment, adding that these units at different places in Delhi were planned to be allotted soon.

For the slum-dwellers who have now been left in the lurch, the PWD minister said preparation will have to be made for in situ development for lack of space in the city.

“But a few days ago, we received a letter from the Centre that all 47,511 houses are to be used for affordable rental housing scheme only,” he said.

Jain said even the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) had asked for 9,535 units to relocate people, but the Centre has said no to this too and these housing units are to be under ARHCs scheme only.

On a question on the Delhi government’s decision to ban bursting of crackers to curb pollution being criticised by an opposition party, he said, “We are strict on curbing stubble-burning too.”

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