West Bengal government has decided to allow present government employees, former employees and even those who are “illegally” residing in government housing estates to purchase the flats by paying an amount to be fixed by the state. The occupants will have to do that within 180 days of government fixing the price.
The proposal, though, pertains to only LIG (low income group), MIG (middle income group) and HIG (high income group) housing estates as the state has decided not to develop new complexes under these three categories anymore.
Replying to a question by Trinamool Congress MLA Bankim Chandra Hazra at the House, housing minister Sovan Chatterjee on May 24 said, “The government has decided not to develop new flats under LIG, MIG and HIG categories. Hence, it will sell the existing flats. The government officials and staff who reside in the housing estates can now enjoy ownership of their respective flats if they agree to pay the amount fixed by the government. We are also giving the same offer to the former employees, who are still residing in these housing estates, as well as to those who are not the authorized residents,” said Chatterjee.
“We don’t intend to evict anyone. That’s why we are extending the opportunity to even those who are not the lawful residents of the apartments,” added Chatterjee. The department is currently calculating the price. The minister has also assured that the prices would be affordable.
A source in the housing department said, “The government is losing revenue. In most cases, rent of these LIG/MIG/HIG flats are very low. The maintenance of the housing estates is done by the government. While the return is minimum, a lot of money is pumped in for its upkeep. It’s hitting the government coffers.”
Some of the rented apartments will, however, be kept outside the purview of this. Even, co-operatives can be formed to avail the opportunity. “Once the price is fixed and notice issued by the government, the entire amount has to be paid within 180 days. Else, the occupants will face eviction,” an official said.