New homes for govt staff changing New Delhi

New homes for govt staff
With the Ministry of Urban Development trying to handle a constant backlog of requests for government accommodation, the new government quarters coming up for politicians and bureaucrats don't just mean more and better residences, but also promise to change the face of Delhi.

In 2007, the MoUD had identified seven projects to be developed as efficient government accommodation. The Central Public Works Department (CPWD), which maintains close to 64,208 government flats in its general pool of residential accommodation, is developing 190 flats in North Avenue and 204 flats in South Avenue, apart from projects in Aliganj, Sunheri Bagh and Devnagar. The other two projects are being developed by the National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC).

Newsline takes a look at the NBCC-developed projects in New Moti Bagh (992 houses) and East Kidwai Nagar (6,107 houses), which promise modern buildings by replacing the old dilapidated houses and a look that promises to defy what an average Delhiite commonly scoffs away as sarkari.

New Moti Bagh

While both projects come with promises of the 'new', the interesting part about developing 992 houses in an area of 143 acres at New Moti Bagh dealt with the condition set by the Urban Development Ministry for the NBCC, the project's implementing authority. The ministry placed a requirement of new houses, but expressed inability to provide any funds.

"After the initial planning, however, we figured there were four acres of surplus land we could auction to a private party and raise money for the construction of the houses. The auction was permitted by the ministry, and it was bought the Leela Group, fetching Rs 650 crore for three acres," said R K Jha, senior general manager and the project head with NBCC.

The project was granted Cabinet approval in 2007, and construction work began in December the same year. At present, the project is 80 per cent complete, and officials said the entire work is expected to be finished by March 2012. The white-domed houses have power back-up, sewage recycling systems, solar water heating, modern floor finishing and modular kitchens.

"It was an experimental project that has come out very well. Living in New Moti Bagh would be the next best thing to living in a Lutyens' bungalow," said a senior official.

This "bureaucrat's campus" has 376 Type-VI "flats" in six multi-storey towers for joint secretaries and additional secretaries in the government. There would be four 10-storey towers, four 9-storey towers, and two 8-storey towers. Then there are 102 Type-VII villas for senior secretaries to the government and 14 Type-VIII ministerial bungalows. A cluster of 500 houses has also been constructed in the campus for the economically weaker sections. While some of these would be used as servants' quarters, officials said the government wants to keep the others for future EWS quota allotment.

The campus also promises to take care of all modern day requirements with a club, a shopping area, swimming pool, jogging tracks and a tight security system with scanners and CCTV coverage on all the three main entrances.

East Kidwai Nagar

To be developed on a prime location across 86 acres of land right opposite AIIMS and planned by British architects Chapman Taylor, East Kidwai Nagar is an ambitious Rs 4,000-crore project where the government wishes to raze the 4,519 existing and old government quarters, and instead have multi-storeyed buildings to raise 6,107 units for categories across Type-I and Type-VII. The tallest of these buildings would have 18 floors, while the shortest would have 10 floors.

The proximity of the area to the Safdarjung Airport and corresponding flying zone restrictions has forced the authorities to restrict the height of some towers to 10-floors as a precautionary measure, officials said.

While the Cabinet has already approved the Kidwai Nagar redevelopment project, the statutory clearances for forest and environment are still awaited, senior officials said.

"Depending on the time taken in getting these clearances, we are confident about finishing the entire project within five years from the date we start implementing it," Jha said.

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