A Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) proposal to demolish and redevelop close to 323 homes in three slum pockets of Bathujinagar, Gurukul Char Rasta and Madhunagar in the Danteshwar area here, under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), for a slum-free city has become the centre of controversy. The proposal, which states that the contract for the PPP model must be handed out to a developer, Shree Trisha Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, has come under attack from the opposition as the said land was allotted by the civic body in 1993 under a previous rehabilitation scheme.
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The proposal from the affordable housing department of the VMC is placed before the Standing Committee that will meet on Thursday. The proposal submits that about 323 slums from the three land parcels in Danteshwar area will be demolished and rehabilitated into the PMAY states, “Under the PMAY scheme and to fulfill the commitment towards a slum-free city, it is proposed that slum pockets in city areas must be rehabilitated in situ by providing apartments with basic amenities. The PMAY scheme was launched in June 2015 and this is the first vertical PPP model under the scheme.”
However, the said land parcels in question belong to the District Collector. The proposal states that a “request to acquire the land has been sent to the District Collector”.
The proposal indicates that the Project Management Consultant recruited for the rehabilitation project has clubbed three slum pockets, making a total of 323 units for slum rehabilitation and an additional 339 units for Affordable Housing Component (AHC). “The tender process, overseen by the PMC for project, has been approved by the Slum Rehabilitation Committee on November 2 and thereafter published in the Gazette by the Government of Gujarat on November 9. The total cost of the construction is estimated at Rs 40.83 crore, and the beneficiaries will be given a rental allowance of Rs 2,000 per month.”
The Leader of the Opposition Chandrakant Shrivastav shot a letter to Municipal Commissioner Vinod Rao, raising objection over the proposal. Shrivastav said, “I cannot fathom how this tender process has been completed as Bhathujinagar and Madhunagar have been handed over to the present occupants by the VMC in 1993 and registered in 1998 at a minimal cost prevailing at that time. This was part of a previous rehabilitation scheme. Now that the families have settled in their homes, what right does the VMC have to dislodge them and scatter their daily lives?”
Shrivastav questioned the motive of the PPP model. “This PPP model has been created to benefit specific entities involved in this project for which they are willing to destroy the homes of the poor.”