Rajasthan Housing Board earned record Rs 2,621 cr during pandemic


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Beating the Covid pandemic blues, the Rajasthan Housing Board earned a record revenue of Rs 2,621 crore in the last 18 months, thus setting up an example of reviving a 'dead' unit besides attracting the attention of other states/UT, including Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Puducherry, which have expressed their desire to study the revival model adopted by the RHB by using unconventional means and thinking out of the box.

Recently, a 10-member team from the Agra Development Authority came to Jaipur to study how the housing board was revived amid the tough pandemic period.

Similarly, officials from Puducherry and Uttarakhand have also shown their interest in the revival model of RHB, said Pawan Arora, RHB Commissioner, adding that the turnaround was led by senior officials mostly in their 50s, who can challenge any youngster when it comes to working in odd situations.

In the process, RHB set two records -- selling 1,010 houses in 35 days via e-auction, earning a revenue of Rs 162 crore, an achievement that was recognised by the World Book of Records, London. It also sold 1,213 properties in 12 days, earning a revenue of Rs 185 crore, which again got the seal of World Book of Records, London.

"During the Mid-Career Training Programme (MCTP) for IAS officers, a case study on 'Revamping of Rajasthan Housing Board In fulfilment of Pre-Programme Assignment' was presented in March 2021, which was an equally proud moment to share our success story with others on how we set up an example of infusing life into an organisation which was on the verge of closure," Arora told IANS.

"The challenge which we faced when we took over the reigns of RHB was a huge unsold inventory. In the last tenure of the state government, it was almost decided to wind up the RHB operations. Hence, the challenge was to turn the tide, and eventually our team worked upon fresh ideas using digital modes," he added.

"Working round-the-clock, we uploaded each and every inventory on the website with its google location and pictures, no matter how it looked. Simultaneously, we uploaded its status, discount and all other details. Advance deposits of those who failed to get the property procession during auction were returned within 72 hours, which built trust and therefore they recycled the money into our units, Arora said.

"We also followed the psychology of the customers and studied their financial needs and adopted a few initiatives to bring about efficiency and transparency. The year 2020-21 was marred by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, undeterred by recession, the RHB adopted various methodologies to attract the public. Close to 10,000 properties worth a whopping Rs 2,621 crore were sold by the end of March 2021 within 18 months, which in itself is a historic and unparalleled fete and has been recognised world over.

"Certain innovations worked wonders for us, including setting up a coaching hub, amphitheatre, food court and exhibition hall, Jaipur Chopati, Kota Chopati, 50 open air gyms, establishment of an enforcement wing for effective and time-bound action against encroachment, establishment of horticulture wing to facilitate development of new parks and rejuvenate the older ones in the housing schemes, and development of the 'Sajag' mobile app to improve quality control measures, among others," he added.

In 2015, the state government had made up its mind to wind up the organisation. Its stocks rose to an all-time high of 22,562 units in 2017, as for two years no new construction was allowed. In-progress houses were, however, completed during the course of time.

Due to increased rejection from registered applicants, the stocks further piled up. There seemed to be no remedy other than disposing of such surplus units at a discounted rate, to the extent of 50 per cent of their current reserve price.

However, a slew of steps and confidence building measures undertaken to revamp the RHB started paying dividends. The public started interacting with the RHB through social/digital media, besides registering and buying residential and commercial properties through online sale, i.e., through e-auction and e-bid submission.

Cost-cutting measures and relaxations and rebates extended during the pandemic boosted the confidence of the common man, Arora said.

Source: IANS

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