CHENNAI: The government lands locked up in slum tenements and vacant temple lands held by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) department should be unlocked to provide affordable housing in Chennai for both rentals and ownership, according to a Chennai-based urban policy think-tank.

The  Mylapore Institute for Policy Research (MIPR), which is submitting its report to the State government, said that rental homes developed for economic weaker sections at temple lands would help garner revenue for maintenance of the temple.

“Under the proposed model, ownership of underlying land does not change at all with landlord enjoying rental income on housing stock created,” said the MIPR,  which conducted an analysis of vacant temple land on Greenways Road.

“Since the landlord will be earning an economic return on a sustained basis,  it is proposed that he will fund 50pc of construction costs and registration charges while the remaining 50pc will come from Corporates under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) contributions,” the MIPR said.

Interestingly,  the MIPR, which has suggested FSI limit should be increased from 1.5 to 3,  has proposed an in-situ model of housing for the slum-dwellers rather shifting them to the outskirts of the city.

Shiv Kumar, president of MIPR, said the heart and soul of a thriving city are its manual and blue-collar workers and the primary need of this group is affordable housing within city limits.

As per the 2013 survey by the Slum Clearance Board, Chennai has 3.05 lakh households spread across 1,131 slums. The total slum population is estimated to be one million and they form the backbone of manual labour base.

The MIPR,  which has come out with a model of slum redevelopment using Kannammapet  site in T Nagar as example, states that slum sites should be developed  with FSI concession of 3 with the goal of relocating the residents free  of cost on 60 pc of built-up area and the remaining 40 percent offered  for sale on lottery basis to economically weaker sections.

“Under the ownership model, the state bears the cost of registration of flats and all remaining net costs are funded by the CSR contributions. New buyers of the flats will be eligible for centrally sponsored Pradhan Mantri  Awas Yojana scheme to lower borrowing costs,” said V Balasubramanian,  secretary of MIPR and Dr S Venkataraman, member, governing council, MIPR.

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