India – TN;21 lakh hut-dwellers in State to get permanent houses: Barnala
CHENNAI: A series of welfare measures and schemes including provision of houses for those living in huts marked Governor Surjit Singh Barnala’s annual address to the State Assembly on Wednesday.
Other announcements included a Rs.50-a-quintal hike in the procurement price of paddy, payment of tuition fees by the government in professional colleges for students who do not have any graduate in the family, waiver of non-farm loans given by the Tamil Nadu Adi Dravidar Housing and Development Corporation (Tahdco) and a reduction in the number of years of residence on government lands for the issue of house site pattas.
A total of 21 lakh mud-walled houses with thatched roofs would be converted into permanent houses over the next six years, Mr. Barnala told the Legislative Assembly.
The ‘Kalaignar Housing Scheme’ will start in 2010-2011. In the first year, three lakh permanent houses will be constructed at a cost of Rs.1,800 crore.
“If all these huts are to be converted into permanent houses in our State only under the present Centrally-assisted scheme of Indira Awaz Yojana, executed all over the country, then it would take another 30 years. Considering this aspect, in the first phase, with a view to bringing light in the lives of the poor living in these 21 lakh huts, the government had now designed a fully State government-funded mega project to convert all these huts into concrete roofed permanent houses, which will be given free of cost to the beneficiaries,” he said.
The Governor announced that the requirement of the minimum number of years of residence on government lands would be reduced from five years to three years for the grant of house site pattas. Earlier, the government had reduced this stipulation from 10 years to five years and removed the income ceiling. This led to nearly seven lakh house site pattas being distributed over the last three and a half years.
The government had decided to accept a request made by Adi Dravidar entrepreneurs to waive non-farm sector loans they had availed from Tahdco. The government “decided to waive the loans… amounting to Rs.83 crore, being the overdue principal and interest as on March 31, 2009,” the Governor said. Over 53,000 entrepreneurs would benefit from this. The government would pay up loans taken by fishermen post-tsunami to buy boats and other equipment. Banks would waive the interest component. This would cost the government Rs.80 crore.
Members of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam staged a walkout, criticising the government on a host of issues such as rising price rise and power shortage.
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