Low-cost housing

FOR the second time in a week, Prime Minister Imran Khan had brainstorming session with his aides on realisation of commitments made by him and his party with the masses both before and during elections with regard to construction of five million low-cost/affordable houses. Earlier, the Federal Cabinet had formed a task force on the subject and on Monday the PM chaired a meeting to discuss the matter further. A high-powered committee has been constituted with the instructions to submit its initial recommendations to the Prime Minister within one week.
The speed with which the Prime Minister is proceeding ahead clearly conveys an impression that he means business and intends to deliver on his promises sooner than later. And this is what he was expected to do in view of the raised expectations of the people, who want the new government demonstrate something concrete towards implementation of its all pledges. Pakistan is facing huge shortage of houses because of surging population. According to official estimates, the country needs ten million housing units and the demand would increase to 20 million by 2025, a situation that calls for urgent attention of the authorities concerned. No doubt, some housing societies and private builders are contributing their share by initiation of schemes in different cities and towns and their success is indicative of the keen interest shown by the people in getting shelter for them. Many private builders have excelled in provision of quality living and in many respects have even left behind public sector entities including CDA, LDA, KDA and others which have not been able to open any new affordable sectors or housing schemes for years. In this backdrop, urgent steps are needed both on part of the Federal and Provincial governments to launch affordable housing schemes especially for low-income groups that are also vulnerable to fraudulent schemes by some unscrupulous elements. Private sector builders with impeccable credentials may also be co-opted for implementation of the mega programme. But more important than that is the cost and how the government intends to recover it from applicants.

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