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Vast gap between figures given by minister, Housing Board on flats they plan to build
Stumped by the overwhelming response to the Congress's poll promise to provide cheap houses for poor women in urban areas, the state government on Wednesday made a desperate bid to keep pace by offering affordable houses for the urban poor but ended up speaking in two voices.
While state's Urban Development Minister Nitin Patel said the state government was planning to construct 6,300 new flats through Gujarat Housing Board (GHB), the Board chief went ahead and promised 10,000 housing units.
The GHB, which has been defunct for over a decade, held a key meeting on Wednesday and decided to come out with new housing schemes next week.
GHB chairman Jayanti Barot said after the meeting that 10,000-odd housing units would be built in Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Surat. He said officials had been asked to come up with fresh data on housing demand and private consultants were being hired to help GHB carry out a demand survey in major cities in the state at a short notice.
The GHB itself is facing an acute shortage of staff whose number has dwindled to 213 from over 1,250 in the past few years.
The Board has a land bank of 541 acres.
The minister denied that the announcement was in response to the Congress's offer. "The process for this has been going for the last six months, much before the Congress announced its so-called scheme," he said.
Asked about how many housing units were built by the GHB in the past 10-15 years, the minister refused to comment.
R C Patel, a Congress leader and former member of the GHB, said, "The Board has not come out with a single new housing development project for the public over the past 15 years anywhere in the state." Cong in 'future trading', says BJP
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