Housing for poor: Delhi government asked to curtail project

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Housing for poor: Delhi govt to act
New Delhi, June 15: The Delhi government has been asked by the centre to curtail the housing projects for poor sanctioned under the UPA regime if it cannot complete them on time.

Under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) - the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government's flagship scheme - the Delhi government had to complete 16 low-cost housing projects by June 30, 2015. But only six are complete, official sources told IANS.

The estimated cost of these projects was Rs. 3,244 crore. Fifty percent of the amount had to be borne by the central government.

In a letter to Delhi Chief Secretary S.K. Srivastava, seen by IANS, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) has asked the state government "to take necessary steps to expedite the completion of dwelling units under progress".

The letter, signed by HUPA Secretary Anita Agnihotri, also directs the government that a "proposal for curtailment of the dwelling units not yet started may be sent to the ministry".

According to another Delhi government official, "The work had to be done by 2012 but it could not be completed. The UPA government extended the date for this project till June 30, 2015. We have to now finish it."

Launched in 2005, the first phase of JNNURM was to end in 2012. However, with over 50 percent of the projects remaining incomplete, it was extended till March 2014.

The newly-elected National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has made it clear that it will not continue with the JNNURM.

Under the Basic Service to the Urban Poor - a sub mission of the JNNURM - the Congress-led UPA had approved the construction of some 68,000 flats for the economically weaker sections of society. Most of these projects are on the outskirts of Delhi.

Another official said: "If the projects are not completed, we will have to surrender them to the centre." He also confirmed the receipt of the letter.

Several agencies like the Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation, the Delhi Urban Slum Improvement Board, the Delhi Development Authority and the New Delhi Municipal Council were entrusted with the task.

Delhi government officials say that many projects could not be completed and cited two such.

"How can you expect Siraspur project to complete on time? There is an unauthorised colony in the middle of the project site. It has to be first cleared, which is not easy," said an official.

Over 4,000 units are to be constructed in Siraspur.

"To construct over 8,000 flats in Tikri Kalan, the permission will have to be taken from the forest department," he added.

What is ironical, officials say, is that only 4,000 flats have been allotted, of which only 300 have been occupied.

IANS

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