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Published On:09 July 2011
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

GUJARAT UPDATE: Muslims denied residential accommodation in Hindu areas

By Abdul Hafiz Lakhani

After reviving Gujarat Housing Board recently in Gujarat, the question is being asked by thousands of Muslims: will this government body make residential flats in Muslim dominated areas too?

Muslims cannot buy or rent property in Hindu parts of Gujarat, the two communities live separately, and in fear of each other. Many areas are a cluster of shanty houses beside towering, stinking mountains of garbage, built for people who lost their homes in communal riots in 2002.

Some social scientists say even Dalit --Hindu alienation started since 1982, after the anti-reservation agitation, but agree that the caste and class distinctions have become more serious in recent years after 2002 Anti-Muslim riots

So far in most of the big cities like Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Surat,Muslim areas are intentionally deprived by this body. And Muslims have to find accommodation on high rates. This body had constructed thousands of houses in Gujarat in Hindu dominted areas so Muslims do not get the benefit.

Gujarat Housing Board which has been revived after almost ten years has important task of recovering dues of Rs 600 crore from house owners (Most of them are Hindus) who have not been paying installments for years. The other task is to mobilize resources for new housing schemes as its old staff has been shunted out to different government departments.

Listing out the priorities and problems of the GHB, it’s newly appointed Chairman Jayantibhai Barot said that it would take about a year for the Housing Board to launch new housing schemes. The Board has, however, set its own list of project sites to start with. Rajkot and Ahmedabad are at the top.

Jayantibhai Barot said that the Board had decided to construct houses of up to four floors as they were viable for long term maintenance, with respect to cost too, and prices are affordable to poor and middle class people. He said that he was not in favour of high rise buildings as it required lifts and other infrastructure which increased its long term cost.

Gujarat Housing Board was virtually closed down in 2002 and a skeletal staff was kept for the existing 1.76 lakh houses. However, there was poor recovery rate and as a result only 98,385 houses have been transferred to the occupiers. The Board has to collect Rs 600 crore by way of recovery which includes interest and penalty on unpaid installments.

[Abdul Hafiz Lakhani is a senior Journalist based at Ahmedabad, Gujarat. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Gujarat). He can be reached at lakhani63@yahoo.com or on his cell 09228746770]

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on July 09, 2011. Filed under , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

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