Shimla to be slum free by the year 2009

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Shimla, Apr 25 (UNI) Shimla, known as queen of hills, will be made ''slum free'' by the end of 2009 and all efforts will be made to restore its pristine beauty, Himachal Pradesh's Urban Development Minister Krishan Kapoor today said.

Kapoor, who called on Union Urban Employment and Poverty Alleviation Minister Selja Kumari in Nirman Bhawan at New Delhi today, said 636 housing units would be constructed at a cost of Rs 18.26 crore for poor people under ''basic services to urban poor'' scheme.

He said tenders had already been invited for starting the works and the project was likely to be completed next year, enabling the government to shift the poor people living in slums to these houses.

Under the integrated housing and slum development projects, 816 units would be constructed in Hamirpur, Dharamshala and Solan towns with a total cost of Rs 16.18 crore, he said and added that the process for constructing houses for below poverty line families had already started.

The Minister urged the Union Minister to raise the ceiling of Rs 90,000 for construction of single unit to Rs two lakh per unit, in view of the high cost of construction and also pleaded for including the remaining 52 urban areas under the scheme.

He also requested the Centre to immediately release Rs 500 crore for development of Shimla town under the Jawaharlal urban Renewal Mission (JURRM) to accelerate the pace developmental activities being carried out under the Mission.

''It is a daunting task to revive the old glory of Shimla but the government will make concerted efforts to bring the charm of queen of hills back,'' he added.

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