LAHORE: Punjab Housing and Town Planning Agency (PHTPA) issued new registration forms for the Naya Pakistan Housing Program (NPHP), an initiative to provide affordable homes to the lower-income strata of society.
By canceling old forms issued by the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), the agency issued separate forms for Lodhran, Chishtian and Renala Khurd districts for the first phase of the Punjab NPHP. Earlier, NADRA had uploaded the registration form on its website for easy download. Now, these forms will be distributed through the Bank of Punjab. Although these forms will be available free of cost, the applicant has to deposit Rs250 on account of the processing fee.
Provincial Housing Minister Mian Mahmoodur Rasheed told The Express Tribune that development works had already been started in these districts. The government is going to call applications and the allotment process will start by next month.
Earlier, the government announced rolling out the NPHS in Lahore, Kasur, Sialkot, Jhelum, Bahawalpur, Layyah, Multan, Vehari, Rahim Yar Khan and Gujranwala by January. However, considering tremendous public interest and the large number of applications, the government has decided to hold a simultaneous launch of the project in all districts.
Initial data indicates that the NADRA received around 80,000 applications from the Faisalabad district alone. Therefore, authorities decided to halt the allotment process and initiate the scrutiny of applications. The government will start with the allotment process after the completion of form scrutiny by March 2019.
The housing minister said that there was a huge demand of housing units across Punjab. The government held the project back to avoid undue criticism as it will only call applications from those districts where the spadework had been completed. He added the Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf (PTI) regime was committed to fulfilling its promise of providing roofs to the lower income strata of the society. However, he pointed out that the process would take time.
Rasheed highlighted that the government would construct double-storey houses under the NPHS pilot project. The Federal Housing Taskforce and Punjab government have already completed all arrangements to initiate development works on the NPHS pilot project.
The government aimed to execute the project through public-private partnership. It will play the role of facilitator and regulator in the project. Authorities would also provide land, while the private sector would build houses from its own resources. Companies from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and China have already expressed their interest to invest in the NPHS. A Chinese company has offered to construct two million houses under the project.
Prime Minister Imran Khan unveiled the NPHS project in October. In the first phase, the government decided to start the NPHS in seven districts, including Sukkur, Quetta, Gilgit, Muzaffarabad, Swat, Islamabad and Faisalabad, with an aim to construct a total five million houses during next five years.
The Punjab government has sought cooperation from private sector for construction low-cost houses for Prime Minister’s Naya Pakistan Housing (NPHS) project.
Earlier, Punjab Senior Minister Abdul Aleem Khan underlined that the private sector could play a vital role in the construction of the five million housing units.
Talking to members of Association of Builders and Developers of Pakistan (ABAD), Aleem Khan urged the private sector to come forward. He pointed out it was the first time in the country’s history that such a large number of housing units were being constructed. “It is a great opportunity for the private sector, though it will also have to face some challenges,” he maintained.
“In the housing and construction sector,” he highlighted, “a lot of work is to be done.” He added that in big cities, work had already started on the establishment of new by-laws” The minister said it would help support the private sector and encourage them to invest.
He indicated that permission for the construction of multi-storey buildings would be granted, while a housing mortgage facility would also be implemented on the model of Europe and America. The government was going to introduce uniform and secure polices for the housing sector that would create competition and develop the construction sector.