CHENNAI: The controversial housing project for bureaucrats, which landed the previous DMK government in trouble over allotment under discretionary quota to a few government officials and their close relatives, is nearing completion and likely to be ready for occupation by June.
While the workers are giving final touches to the multi-storeyed apartments, which have 1,016 flats, at Nerkundram, it is learnt that the Tamil Nadu Housing Board is mooting relaxation of the penal interest the bureaucrats have to pay for the deferred payment of the instalments.
The Nerkundram project, where IAS and IPS officers were allotted flats under the ‘Own your House’ scheme, came under scrutiny after it emerged that a few senior government officials were allotted flats under the discretionary quota.
The uproar over the issue subsequently forced the DMK government to abolish the discretionary quota under which the Chief Minister can allocate houses to people of his discretion. A few allotments for IAS officers were later cancelled.
But with the project nearing completion and the officials planning to hand over the project by June to the allottees, it is learnt that the Housing Board is planning to reduce the penal interest from 13 per cent to 10.5 per cent. Sources said several government officials, who were allotted flats, had failed to pay instalments on time. While the penal interest rate was originally fixed at 13 per cent, the board is now planning to relax it to 10.5 per cent. According to sources, the reason was the delay in completion of the project by nearly 21 months.
Official sources attribute the delay to the CBI case the contractor - Indu Project Limited - faced. The company was linked to the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s disproportionate assets case in Andhra Pradesh and the CBI investigations also affected the construction of the Nerkundram project.
TNHB officials said they were mooting relaxation of penal interest since the project was delayed by 21 months, putting under stress the allottees, most of them bureaucrats. Many have complained that they are losing on paying interest to the banks on the one hand and losing rent on the other hand due to prolonged project period.
The cost of each flat under the discretionary quota for All India Service officers which was given at `2,442 per square feet (for flats measuring 2,460 square feet) was ` 87 lakh which was much below the market cost.
Scheme that landed dmk in trouble
The housing project with proposed 1,016 multi-storeyed flats was sanctioned during the DMK regime
It includes 608 flats for All India Service (AIS) members, including IAS and IPS, officers, 120 flats for Group I officers and 288 low-income group flats for government servants
Some of the allotments were cancelled after it was found that many All India Service Officers tried to get the plots under discretionary quota twice
The project got approval of the CMDA during October 2011
The developer Indu Project Limited came under CBI scanner
TNHB plans to relax the penal interest to help the allottees pay the remaining instalment
TNHB continues with the developer as it feels re-tender would increase the cost of flats
The instalments have been delayed by the allottees
The project is likely to be completed by June 2016
Indu Project Limited approaches adjudicator and the project is extended by six months