VISAKHAPATNAM: Officials from the city are to soon visit Kolkata to study the vertical housing structures which will be replicated here in order to provide housing, particularly to employees of private firms. 

District collector Pravin Kumar told TOI, "We will visit Kolkata in the first week of February to study a similar project in the metro city where it has produced successful results." 

Till now, the government has been providing houses to the unorganised sector and those below the poverty line under various schemes like JNNURM and NTR Housing. 

Now, the government in association with private builders has decided to build homes for those in private companies and sell them at an affordable price. 

In the first phase, the government has already decided to develop 1 lakh houses including 65,000 spread over 710 acres at Achyuthapuram towards Rajahmundry and 35,000 spread over 400 acres at Anandapuram towards Srikakulam. 

As it is a massive project, the government wants to adopt the vertical housing structure, which is very popular in Kolkata. "Upon instructions and suggestions from chief secretary SP Tucker, we are preparing to study the housing structures in Kolkata where huge houses were built in less space. The government wants to start the housing project in February this year," a senior official from the housing department confirmed to TOI. 

K Ramakrishna Rao, chairman of Vizag Chapter of Confederation of Real Estate Developer's Association of India (CREDAI), said, "The vertical housing towers at Kolkata is a 100 per cent success. We have already studied them. The cost of social transport is also very less and the houses are more affordable. If the land value is high, these vertical structures are a better option. The Kolkata structures have minimum 8 floors to a maximum 20 floors." 

Rao said Confederation of Real Estate Developers Associations of India (CREDAI) is ready to develop such vertical structures free of cost by taking an alternative land of similar value as investment from the government. "We have made many negotiations with the government over such projects. We are sure we will get a favourable call from the government to take up the projects in the city," Rao said. 

Andhra University's civil engineering department Prof GV Rama Rao who specialises in structural engineering said, "As Vizag is close to the sea, builders should have to take upmost care to develop vertical structures. Apart from Kolkata, the vertical structures at Bangalore city are also good." 

A senior official from Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) said there are nearly 5 lakh vertical households in the city. Of them, nearly 2 lakh households require own houses. Of the 2 lakh, nearly 10,000 households belong to employees in the information technology sector. Many people commute nearly 30 km to 100 km from the city to work in various industries, companies and business firms daily.