Actor Shabana Azmi on Monday said one cannot be dependent on the private sector to ensure affordable housing and it is, in fact, the State's responsibility to look into it. Azmi said relying on private sector for affordable housing is a flawed model.
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"The fact is, if we leave the affordable housing to the private sector, we are in deep trouble. We cannot follow that model. As we talk about housing for all, many groups say the private sector has the means to do it, that they will get vast amount of lands and will be able to do it really fast," Azmi told reporters.
"But, we have to explain and communicate that it is the State's responsibility. Nobody who lives in the slums or belongs to the economically weaker section can afford land at market prices. Unless the economically weaker sections are given subsidised rates for housing, there is no way we are going to solve the problem," she added.
Azmi was speaking at the launch of the book "Chasing The Affordable Dream- A Plan to House Mumbai's Millions." The book has been authored by PK Das, Gurbir Singh, Ritu Dewan and Kabir Agarwal.
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Azmi said in her first ever speech in Rajya Sabha, she had spoken about the issue of housing for all, a topic that is still relevant. "I had heard a young boy say at an university, 'we got independence at midnight but the morning hasn't arrived yet.' Several statements made by the president were met with applause, such as education for all, health for all. "But when it came to housing for all, there was absolute silence in the room. I had said that the silence is deafening... To overlook housing, particularly affordable housing will be a great error," she added.