NEW DELHI: The Centre hopes to get its ambitious plan to provide rental accommodation for migrants — devised after workers left cities in lakhs — rolling with around 70,000 government-funded houses in Maharashtra, Delhi and Telangana that are ready to be rented out in the first phase of the Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (AHRCs) scheme.
The Cabinet on Wednesday approved the scheme with a focus on expeditious development of rental houses and dormitories for migrants close to their workplace and will be part of PM Awas Yojna (Urban) of the housing and urban affairs ministry. The challenge was identified by the Centre as it became evident that uncertainty over incomes and, therefore, ability to pay rents was a key factor that spurred the exodus. Special trains ferried nearly 65 lakh migrant workers and their families to states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
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I&B minister Prakash Javadekar said 1.08 lakh completed houses across 107 cities and towns are lying unused. TOI had first reported on May 15 that in Phase 1, at least one lakh ready-to-move-in houses would be made available to kick off the scheme. Javadekar said urban local bodies (ULBs) will engage concessionaires for renting out, managing and maintaining these completed complexes for 25 years. ULBs will fix the monthly rent to be charged from tenants. The housing ministry will send a model document for bidding to states detailing how the rent would be decided by ULBs, sources said.

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Javadekar said another 1.15 lakh houses with a one-bedroom format will be ready soon. “There will also be dormitories to accommodate six persons per room. We know how 8-10 labourers stay in one room. This will help accommodate nearly 1.35 lakh people. In total, we are looking at accommodation for nearly 3.5 lakh people,” he said.