Project proposal in final stages; panchayats yet to submit plans

A total of 64 slums in the city Corporation area and in the surrounding panchayats are set to be upgraded as part of the Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation.

Mayor A.K. Premajam told The Hindu here on Monday that the project proposal from the local body was in the final stages, after which it would be sent to the State government for further action. The RAY project, conceived with the aim of making cities slum-free, involves upgrade of the physical infrastructure and improvement of the social indices of the people.

Most of the slums identified are situated in the coastal region. Some of the major slums inside the city at Vellayil, Payyanakkal, and Kuttichira will be included in the programme. The slums are spread over 32 wards in the city. In addition to that, slums from seven panchayats lying adjacent to the city — Ramanattukara, Feroke, Kadalundi, Olavanna, Koduvally, Kakkodi, and Kunnamangalam — will also be upgraded.

But one of the major problems in identifying the slums for the project was in meeting the requirements specified by the Ministry.

“The Ministry formulated the guidelines considering the situation of slums in North India. The living conditions in those slums are of abysmally low standards. When compared with that, the slums in Kerala are much better off. So, it was difficult to identify slums that are at least comparable to those standards. A previous proposal from our side was rejected citing this reason,” Ms. Premajam said.

The proposal submission from the Corporation is behind schedule owing to a delay in preparation of the project site plan by the private agencies that were hired for it. Two agencies — Socio Economic Unit Foundation (SEUF) and Mythri — were hired for the same. “The agencies were hired to do survey and mapping to identify the slums that meet the standards specified. But Mythri is yet to submit its report and we have recommended that the company be blacklisted. Also, the plans from the panchayats are yet to be submitted. We expect them to submit it as soon as possible. All these plans need to be integrated and submitted as a single report to the State government,” the Mayor said.

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