Questions about affordable housing need answers

Updated: 2016-10-31 08:23

(China Daily)

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ALTHOUGH CONSTRUCTION FINISHED FIVE YEARS AGO, the applicants for an affordable housing project in Fugu county in Northwest China's Shaanxi province are yet to move in, because the foundations of their would-be apartments have sunk 1.2 meters. commented on Saturday:

Ostensibly the affordable housing in Fugu county is uninhabitable because of the poor construction quality, but what has really prevented people moving in is the incompetence of the parties concerned.

Back in 2012, reports lauded the housing project that cost over 10 million yuan ($1.5 million) to build for being able to accommodate some 109 low-income households. But these families are still dwelling in shabby basements or illegally built houses, because they cannot move into their new homes.

According to the published statistics, the overdue project was scheduled to take in all qualified applicants by the end of 2013, but its foundations have sunk to a dangerous level after several major rainstorms.

Even more noteworthy is the fact that the construction problems had been kept in the dark until a recent report revealed it.

The public has every right to question how the inadequately constructed housing project passed quality assessment.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development has urged the local authorities to investigate the scandal. However, that is far from enough, as problems with affordable housing have been reported in other places.

According to the audit authorities at the central and regional levels, not only have many completed affordable houses have been left unused on purpose, as have the considerable construction funds, but also people who don't qualify for affordable housing have managed to claim ownership. Greater efforts are needed to eliminate the power-money exchanges behind the scenes that are the root cause of these issues, as these could deal a bigger blow than poor-quality houses to the hopes of those who would otherwise not be able to afford a home given the skyrocketing real estate prices and widening income gap in many Chinese cities.

(China Daily 10/31/2016 page8)