The Union government has asked the five City Corporations in the State to prepare detailed plans for slum-free urban development and submit them immediately for implementation under the ambitious Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY).

This was revealed by Aruna Sundarajan, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, here on Friday.

She was speaking after assessing the progress made by the State in rolling out RAY in the Corporations of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kochi, Thrissur and Kozhikode.

The Kudumbasree Mission is the nodal agency for executing the project in Kerala.

Surveying and mapping of the existing slums in the five corporation areas, assessment of the growth of the cities with a 20-year perspective, necessary legislative and administrative changes required for urban land expansion, changes proposed in the town planning regulations, and actions to obtain commensurate lands or virtual lands will be part of the detailed action plans to be submitted to the Centre.

The Joint Secretary said the Centre had decided to spend Rs.5,000 crore in the next two years under the RAY across the country. The Centre would provide financial assistance to States to assign property rights to slum dwellers for provision of shelter and basic civic and social services for slum re-development and for creation of affordable housing stock under the scheme.

Expressing satisfaction over the progress made so far by the five corporations towards implementing the RAY, Ms. Sundarajan briefed the State officials about the procedures, legislative reforms and guidelines on the project.

Workshop held

At a workshop for officials held here on Friday, she also explained the different phases of the project implementation right from the planning stage.

Kudumbasree Mission Executive Director Sarada Muraleedharan made a presentation on the activities taken up so far with regard to the RAY in the State. Local Administration Principal Secretary James Varghese, Secretary R.K. Singh, and HUDCO regional chief H.T. Suresh were present at the workshop.

Teams led by Additional Secretaries from the City Corporations attended the workshop.

The RAY, which envisages a ‘Slum-free India,' aims to tackle the problems of slum-dwellers and the urban poor with the help of the respective State governments. It has a multi-pronged approach focussing on bringing existing slums within the formal system and enabling them to avail of the same level of basic amenities as the rest of the town.

Readdressing the failures of formal system that lie behind the creation of slums and tackling shortage of urban land and housing are also part of it.

Under the project, the State has to bring in required legislation for assignment of property rights to the slum-dwellers.

As per the guidelines of the scheme, the first part of the plan of action will be to upgrade the existing slums and the second part will be on actions to prevent new slums.