Monday, February 2, 2009

Government announces 2-BHK apartments at 12500 rupees

India ShiningChennai. The Union government is working on a grand program to provide world class housing to every Indian family at an unimaginably low cost. The ingenious design concept of National Institute of Design, further developed by Indian Statistical Institute, will enable HUDCO to offer 2-BHK dwellings at Rs 12,500 ($250) apiece for the first time in the world.

Prototypes of the wonder-house will be unveiled at the launch of the National Mission on Housing through Biometrics and Space Technology (NMHBST), to be held at the temple town Palani of Tamil Nadu next month. Selija Kumari, chief of Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, announced that bookings will start on Baisakhi Day.

If the MP from Ambala did not hog any public attention despite her stint as Minister of State with independent charge since five years, it was because she was absolutely busying herself with Nirman Bhavan’s scientists. She strongly refuted allegations that this was another election gimmick by the ruling party, as alleged by opposition.

It may be noted that Ram Jethmalani has petitioned the Election Commission and the Supreme Court on the pre-election announcement. He has urged clubbing of this petition against MHUP with the one pending against HRD. The earlier petition was to oppose the unveiling of a wonder laptop costing Rs 500.

Selija Kumari has complained to the PM about HRD minister Arjun Singh, who, she feels, is jealous of her achievement. She told Faking News: “The decision to display our wonder house at Palani was taken long back. HRD stole our idea and overtook us by unveiling a prototype of a laptop.” The launching of National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology, where the $10 laptop was demonstrated, was carried out with tumult at Tirupati.

Hindustan Prefab Limited, a PSU under her ministry, collaborated in the development with another Central PSU, Semiconductor Complex Limited, in addition to ISI and NID. The Director of NID announced that its role in the feat did not delay the design and development of the world class bullock cart, ongoing since several decades.

Jaiveer Srivastavaa, CMD of Hindustan Prefab has denied that the price tag was a little too optimistic: “At this stage, the price is $ 500, but with mass production, it is bound to come down.” He conceded that the cost calculations did not include revenue expenses like employees’ salaries. He defended the non-inclusion, saying, “In any case, salaries and revision according to pay commission recommendations are going to be spent, even as they are idle.”

Selija Kumari has charged that HRD ministry took the cue from her strategy to rope in Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore and IIT Madras to perfect the $10 laptop. Even its plans to mass produce the laptop by several private sector companies were a rehash of MHUP’s alliance with Jaja Housing.

Jaja Group, one time topper of India’s blue chip corporates, is betting on the Janata House to stage a comeback. Tamil Nadu government has negotiated a Rs 70,000 crore special relief package along with a huge chunk of land at cheap rates. Chief Minister M Karunanidhi has defended the deal saying that such subsidies are essential to keep up the pace of development and attract mega project to the state.

Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, noted that an element of subsidy cannot be avoided in projects of social responsibility. He has vowed to convince the IMF to bear part of the burden for the $ 250 apartment, like in the case of the $10 laptop having a 2 GB RAM.

Skeptics have been predicting that at this price, the mega project can only churn out mini houses, which may be no more than an RCC sewage pipe that serves as the dwelling of most Indians. HUDCO has set speculations at rest, stating: “It will be world class two-bedroom-drawing room-kitchen apartment.”

It is not known if the 2-BHK unit will come with a garage to park the four-door hatchback costing under $ 2500 that most Indians are waiting to acquire.

Ahluwalia, however, sounded a word of caution that prices of essentials may go up slightly due to the interest and repayment obligations. All the rice, wheat and milk produced may have to be exported to meet these liabilities.

Excise, customs and other taxes will have to be hiked. As a result, according to an RBI study, the price of hay and husk will be Rs 10 per gram and of drinking water Rs 5 per milliliter. The Planning Commission had initiated this study looking at the likely scenario when both the projects are through.

(This special report has been brought to you by chhuchhundarbaba)


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