Monday, 23 February 2015

DDA planning 2,500 affordable service apartments for elderly

Delhi Development Authority is working on a first-of-its-kind senior citizens' housing scheme, senior officials have said. Officials claim it will be for the first time in India that affordable apartment units, where citizens aged 60 years and above will be able to spend their lives comfortably post-retirement, will come upon such a large scale—at least in the public sector.

Placed a couple of months ago, the proposal was cleared in an Authority board meeting on Monday.

The idea behind the project is to provide a space for the elderly, from all social and economic backgrounds, where they can spend their time together at nominal costs. DDA has identified four sites where housing complexes for senior citizens will be developed.

"Five firms are in talks with us. We have asked each firm to give us designs which provide easy, barrier-free accessibility within the complexes. These firms will develop the complexes," said DDA vice-chairperson Balvinder Kumar.

The idea of a space exclusively for elderly is one DDA has been considering for some time. "Such places are in very limited supply. There are a few in south India and Metro pockets. However, either their rental is too high if built by private developers, or the waiting list is too long. We want this complex to have all amenities, and simultaneously make it affordable," Kumar said.

These apartment units may attract not just pensioners, but richer candidates as well. "Apart from loneliness, senior citizens in the capital are also worried about security. There are many cases of crime against this vulnerable section. Here, they will experience not just a sense of belonging but also security. The complexes will be guarded 24X7," said a senior official.

In addition to providing them easy accessibility, apartment complexes for elderly will be equipped with a gymnasium, library, jogging tracks, medical room and nursing units. Rooms will be provided to candidates for lifetime. Upon the allottee's death, it will be granted to the next person in the waiting list that will be updated annually. DDA will monitor the quality of the flats, food and medical services.

DDA and the developer firms are working on three financial models. "The first mode of payment will be a lump sum amount which an applicant could pay and occupy the flat, the other is monthly installments, ideal for pensioners. The third is reverse mortgage," said an official. Reverse mortgage, for which DDA is talking to banks, would allow applicants to mortgage property and pay for the flat.

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