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Monday, August 04, 2008

State ahead of rest in implementing housing project

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu is way ahead of other states in implementing the centrally-sponsored Indira memorial housing scheme, Indira Awaas Yojana, to construct free houses for the shelterless and those living in thatched huts. While more than 85,000 houses were constructed or renovated last year, the state government hopes to take up the same number this year too. Officials are confident that they would achieve the target this year too. "Tamil Nadu not only stands first in availing of the funds from Delhi for rural development works but also in completing the construction of houses," said a senior officer. While the Centre and state governments share the cost of construction in a 75:25 ratio , the cost of construction was hiked to Rs 35,000 from Rs 25,000 by the Union government considering the spiralling prices of raw material. What has proved attractive to the beneficiaries - at least 60 % of them are Dalits - is the state government's decision to provide an additional Rs 20,000 per house for concrete roofing over and above its share. Local administration minister M K Stalin raised the allocation to Rs 20,000 this year from Rs 12,000 taking into consideration the steep hike in cement and steel prices. By raising its share, the state's contribution goes up to 51% of the total cost. The Central Planning Commission member , Anwar-ul Hoda, who visited some of the construction sites in Villupuram district last month, expressed appreciation of the state government's efficient implementation of the project and the move to enhance its share. Unlike other works the house construction has not been entrusted to contractors. Instead, the government releases the funds directly to the beneficiary in two installments. In some districts the administration also helps the beneficiaries by arranging bank loans for constructing additional facilities.


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