HUDCO to market housing finance scheme through post offices

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New Delhi, Apr 8 (UNI) Getting into an aggressive marketing mode, the Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) is planning to tie up with post offices across the country to market its HUDCO Niwas scheme.

Confirming this, HUDCO Chairman and Managing Director K L Dhingra today said that to beat private players like HDFC and ICICI, the Corporation was holding talks with the India Post officials to explore avenues to popularise the Niwas scheme which offers loan assistance to individuals constructing or buying a house or a flat.

He admitted that the private companies were far ahead in disbursal of loans through their direct selling agents.

''We have presence only in state capitals or bigger towns, and so in order to reach out to people at the grassroots, we have decided to go through the post offices,'' Mr S K Tripathy, Director, Corporate Planning, told reporters at a press conference.

Asked if the post office staff would be trained to carry out such marketing, he said the modalities will be soon worked out.

The CMD also said that HUDCO had taken a proactive role in seeking funding support from the World Bank to the tune of Rs 2500 crore through IDA for housing schemes for weaker sections. ''We have held two rounds of meeting with the World Bank officials and they have been very supportive. The formalities are likely to be completed soon.'' Enlisting the achievements of HUDCO in the fiscal that ended in March, Mr Dhingra said HUDCO had achieved sanctions of Rs 13,492 crore, as against Rs 12162 crore during 2006-7. ''The loans have been sanctioned for variety of projects including housing for the weaker sections, JNNURM scheme, infrastructure projects such as water supply, roads, drainage, power and emerging sectors, apart from integrated development of townships and other innovative projects,'' he said.

He said the HUDCO had made fresh disbursement of Rs 3735 crore (provisional) as against Rs 3453 crore in the previous fiscal.

The Chairman pointed out that while HUDCO had succeeded in reducing costs by about half a per cent as compared to 2006-7, it had also prepaid high cost borrowings amounting to Rs 681 crore during the year. Also, the per cent sanction for the Government sector had improved to 60 per cent compared to 50.09 per cent in the previous fiscal year.

HUDCO's income for the last fiscal was Rs 20.65 crore as against Rs 11.3 crore during 2006-7, he said.

In conformity with HUDCO's mission, he said an emphasis had been given to the weaker sections and low income housing with 92 per cent of the total dwelling units sanctioned by HUDCO earmarked for these categories in the urban and rural areas.

He said HUDCO had been playing a significant role under the JNNURM, by providing consultancy services to states and implementing agencies in formulation of detailed project reports. ''So far 568 projects under BSUP/IHSDP with a project cost of Rs 16336.9 crore have been appraised by HUDCO and santioned by the Ministry, up to March 31,'' he said.

The Corporation has signed an agreement with the Bihar Government for construction of about 14596 houses for urban poor in Patna and Bodhgaya at a total cost Rs 368 crore under the BSUP submission under JNNURM, he added.

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