Giving a major boost to the efforts of Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) to make the city slum-free, the Central government has approved construction of 3,600 houses at the cost of Rs 257 crore for those living in untenable slums.
The RMC announced on Monday that the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (MHUPA) has given green signal to its proposals for relocating and rehabilitating 3,600 families living in slum pockets of Laludi Vokali on Canal Road; Ramnathpara, Bhavani Nagar and Navyugpura on the bank of Aji river; Sagar Nagar and Bet Dwarka near Randarda Lake; people living along the bank of other stretches of Aji river and some parts of Bharatnagar slum in western Rajkot.
An official release from the RMC said that the Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee (CSMC) of MHUPA had given its go ahead to these four projects after RMC submitted detailed project reports (DPRs) for them. The civic body had forwarded six proposals after state government announced a policy for rehabilitation of untenable slum pockets on February 15 this year. Out the six, the Centre approved four projects.
“This is a big step towards our Smart City goal of making Rajkot slum-free. Our prior preparations have helped us here. We are already redeveloping slums on public private partnership (PPP) mode in a big way. Rehabilitation of untenable slums was the only missing link in our goal of providing housing to all. After the state government announced the policy on untenable slums, we submitted DPRs and the Central government approved them on March 17,” Rajkot municipal commissioner Vijay Nehra told The Indian Express.
As part of the policy on untenable slums, the state government will provide Rs 4 lakh grant per dwelling unit to an urban local body. Similarly, Central government will give additional Rs1.5 lakh grant per dwelling unit built under Pradhan Mantri Avas Yojna (PMYA) in the category of affordable housing projects.
Incidentally, after it came to power in 2014, the NDA government had discontinued the Rajiv Avas Yojna (RAY) launched by the previous UPA government for in-situ redevelopment or relocation of slum pockets.
“Besides the Rs 4 lakh and Rs 1.5 lakh grants from the state and Centre, beneficiaries will make contributions upto Rs 1 lakh each. Therefore, this scheme will not put any financial burden on the RMC,” Nehra further said.
Officer on special duty on housing projects of RMC, Alpna Mitra said that 575 families of Laludi Vokali slum will be rehabilitated on a portion of the land that the slum is spread over. Besides, 175 families of Ramnathpara, 370 of Bhavani Nagar and 144 of Navyug Nagar will be relocated to Laludi Vokali rehabilitation site. The civic body will construct 1,264 dwelling units of one-bedroom-hall-kitchen at Laludi Vokali at estimated cost of Rs 12.33 crore. It will be a ground-plus-three storey building and each house will have a carpet area of 30 square metre.
On the other hand, 544 residents of Sagar Nagar and Bet Dwarka will be relocated near Morbi Road Bypass. Another, 1,176 houses will be built on in Mavdi area for rehabilitating those living on the bank of Aji river. Additional 616 dwelling units will be constructed in the same Mavdi plot which was earlier encroached upon but was freed by a private developer and handed over to RMC under a PPP scheme.
Nehra also said that RMC will also get a dedicated fund for slum rehabilitation. “The state and Centre will grant Rs1 lakh each to RMC for every house constructed on PPP basis. As of now, Rs18.70 crore have been sanctioned to RMC under this scheme. This fund will be parked with the state government and RMC will be able to use it for cross-subsidising other housing projects for economically and socially weaker sections,” he added.