The Government will soon come up with a legislation to earmark 15 to 20 per cent of the land being developed in the cities for the financially weaker sections of the society, Minister for Urban Affairs and Minorities, Manjalamkuzhi Ali has said.

Replying to questions in the Assembly on Friday, the Minister said the legislation at the initiative of the Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy will take care of the housing needs of the financially weak.

The Minister said the Government is also considering setting up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the faster implementation of the projects like Rajiv Awas Yojna in the State. The consultants in the KSUDP will be terminated by this month and field workers will be entrusted the job as the project was coming to end in March next.

The Urban Affairs Minister informed the House that there was no move to reduce the powers of the Mayors as alleged by some quarters. Pointing out that 60 municipalities in the State do not have a master plan, he said the plans of 32 will be ready in two months and that of the remaining in the next one year.

Online building permits

In reply to a question, Mr. Ali said online building permits will be issued in the cities to ensure transparency, efficient service to the public and to avoid complaints from the citizens. E-tendering will be adopted for the construction of buildings and public works to be under taken by local bodies in the cities.

Gulf returnees

Minister for Rural Development and Norka, K. C. Joseph said the rehabilitation package to take care of those returning from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in view of the enforcement of new labour laws was getting ready and will be announced by this month end.

The Chief Minister has written to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to direct the External Affairs Minister to lead a delegation to Kuwait as the plight of Malayalees being caught and shifted to the deportation camps was miserable.

The Minister also announced that the age limit for enrolment in the Pravasi Welfare Fund will be increased to 60 years. More attractive schemes, including a housing scheme for the NRIs, and an awareness campaign to enrol more NRIs will be taken up soon.

MGNREGS

In reply to another question, Mr. Joseph said a sum of Rs. 9.59 crore was to be disbursed in all the districts under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) as on June 10 this year. Kerala has asked for including the productive sector in the scheme to take forward the scheme in the special circumstances prevailing in the State.

Drought assistance

Minister for Agriculture, K. P. Mohanan informed the House that Rs. 62.61 crore had been sanctioned from the National Disaster Response Fund on the basis of the Rs. 1,995 crore memorandum submitted by the State for tackling drought in four districts. Of the amount sanctioned, Rs. 18.31 crore had already reached the State.