Declaring that the first in-situ slum rehabilitation project undertaken at Kathputli Colony in his New Delhi parliamentary constituency was close to his heart, Union Housing and Poverty Alleviation Minister Ajay Maken said on Tuesday that more such projects would be planned to rid the city and other urban areas across the country of slums.

Speaking after assuming charge of the new Ministry, Mr. Maken who has been elevated to the Union Cabinet rank now, said he would also be working on expediting the process of redevelopment of slums. “At the time of the 1982 Asian Games when construction of various projects was undertaken, little thought was paid to the need of housing for the workers. Consequently, due to flaws in planning so many slums came up over the years. The redevelopment of slums is critical for planned development of Delhi.” Mr. Maken said he had sought information on the Kathputli Colony project and has been told that for the rehabilitation of about 3,000 families, a transit camp is being set up close to it. Soon these families would move there paving the way for planned development at the colony site. “I was a Minister of State in the Ministry of Urban Development when this project was launched in 2008 and naturally I am keen on pursuing it,” he said.

The Minister said similar projects would be taken up in other parts of the city. “The slums are spread in normally single storeyed structures and when you rehabilitate them in high rise buildings, you release a lot of land for planned development.”

As for the housing scheme for the Economically Weaker Sections, under which houses have been constructed but not allotted so far, the Minister said he would also look into the progress of such schemes. Mr. Maken said he was also keen on ensuring that people get to stay close to their place of work.

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