CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu is among the worst states when it comes to housing, a study by the Union housing ministry has found. About 11% of total housing shortage in the country is in Tamil Nadu, which is only a notch below Maharashtra when it comes to low housing stock.
A study conducted by a technical group of the Union housing ministry which was released recently showed India’s total housing demand was pegged at 24.71 million at the end of the 10th five year plan (2007-2008). While Maharashtra topped the list with a shortage of 3.72 million houses, Tamil Nadu emerged second with 2.82 million units short. Andhra Pradesh has a shortage of 1.95 million units, Karnataka 1.63 million units while Kerala 0.76 million units.
Those who live on streets are not completely homeless. Most of them live in huts and kutcha houses, which need to be converted to pucca ones to meet the housing standards.
The shortage is expected to touch 26.53 million by 2012 and to fulfil this demand the government needs to spend Rs 3,61,318 crore, about 39% of India’s estimated total tax receipts for the current financial year.
A senior official in the housing department, however, disputed these figures. “The Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board had recently estimated that there are only eight lakh huts in city slums.”
Tamil Nadu also has the highest number of homeless, about 7.3% of the total homeless population in the country.
Chennai has 75% of them, according to a study conducted by the NGO, Indian Community Welfare Organisation. The numbers are higher in places like Parrys, Royapuram, Basin Bridge and Wall Tax Road.
As per the housing ministry’s figures, about 88.14% of the housing demand is among the economically weaker sections (EWS), 11.7% among the low income groups and the balance 0.16% among the middle and high income groups.
The National Urban Housing and Habitat Policy (NUHHP) 2007 aims at promoting sustainable development of habitat in the country at affordable prices to all sections. But as state government holds land, the Union has not set any time frame for fulfilling this agenda. In Tamil Nadu the state government has set an agenda of providing pucca houses to all in the next five years. “But this is hardly anything compared to the total housing demand in cities here. Chennai alone needs about 2.7 lakh houses for the EWS. Government needs to look at public-private partnership for fulfilling this demand. The government should unlock its land parcels for housing development and engage private builders,” said T Chitty Babu, president, Tamil Nadu chapter of the CREDAI.