New housing project for slum dwellers on Railway land

The Union Ministry for Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) has identified sites for in situ rehabilitation of slums in the city. To be taken up on a pilot basis, the project will be initiated in slum clusters that have come up on Railway land and perilously close to the tracks in Zakhira and Choona Mandi.

A meeting of officials from HUPA and the Railway authorities was held recently to draw up a plan for clearing out the slums that have come up near the tracks. “There are about 9,000 hutments that have come up in these areas on Railway-owned land. The Ministry is now working out a plan to rehabilitate these people within one kilometre of their existing dwellings,” said an official who was part of the meeting.

While the land will be provided by the Railway authorities, the new houses will be constructed by the HUPA Ministry.

“There is an in principle agreement to carry out the rehabilitation work by the two Ministries. A joint task force has been set up to carry out surveys and work out the details of the project, under which flats in multi-storey buildings with basic amenities will be offered to these slum residents,” the official said.

Officials are also exploring the possibility of relaxing rules pertaining to density norms, floor area ratio, and height restrictions etc., to ensure the project is not stymied.

Details of financing the scheme are also yet to be firmed up, though it is possible that the HUPA will bear 50 per cent of the cost, with the Railways chipping in with 25 per cent and the remainder will be borne by the allottees with assistance from the Rajiv Rin Yojna, a loan scheme for lower income groups.

“It [the project] is still in the nascent stages, but the idea is to not only remove these hutments that are dangerously close to the Railway tracks, but also improve the living conditions of the people who live there. We are keen on in-situ rehabilitation, because our experience shows that whenever rehabilitation has been carried out at a distance farther away from the slums, a lot of people are hesitant to move, because it impacts their work and livelihood. We are therefore, eager to ensure that rehabilitation is holistic,” the official said.

HUPA Minister Ajay Maken had recently written to Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Tejendra Khanna to ensure that slum cluster residents and hawkers in the city are not removed without providing in-situ rehabilitation. The Minister’s intervention came in the wake of representations and complaints made by slum dwellers, alleging harassment by the local authorities.

Published in: on January 29, 2013 at 5:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

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