Tamil Nadu was in the forefront in India in providing quality, permanent houses for the poor, Deputy Chief Minister M.K.Stalin said on Thursday.

Addressing a function in Nookkampalayam, coming under Perumbakkam Village Panchayat limits, to lay the foundation stone for constructing 26,144 tenements and a bus terminus at Semmanchery, Mr. Stalin said the State government was well on track to achieve its objective of a slum free State.

Recalling that Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi had created Tamil Slum Clearance Board in 1971, the first of its kind in the country, Mr. Stalin said till 2006 the Board had constructed 77,627 houses. In the past four years, the government had initiated the project for constructing 82,000 houses and Rs.3,000 had been allotted for the same.

Of this, 42,000 houses were completed and the foundation stone for 26,144 were laid on Thursday. The foundation stone for the remaining 14,000 houses would be laid soon, Mr.Stalin said. He appealed to TNSCB officials to complete the 26,144 houses within a year, against its schedule of 15 months, without compromising on quality of construction. Minister for Slum Clearance and Accommodation Control Suba Thangavelan, said materials that would be used in building the houses would be of the best quality. Labour Welfare Minister T.M.Anbarasan, Chennai Mayor M.Subramanian and Tambaram MLA S.R.Raja spoke. Ashok Dongre, Secretary, Department of Housing and Urban Development, welcomed the gathering.

Kancheepuram Collector Santhosh K.Misra said the district administration had handed over 46 hectares of land in Nookkampalayam for the project. T.K.Ramachandran, Managing Director, TNSCB, said that due to protests from encroachers and also due to litigations, they were unable to start the project, or else it would have been finished by now.

A release from TNSCB said 2,280 houses would be built under the Emergency Tsunami Rehabilitation Project at a cost of Rs.132.53 crore at Nochikuppam, Nochi Nagar and Domming Kuppam. Each house would have a built-up area of 357 sq ft and was worth Rs. 5.82 lakh.

In Nookkampalayam, 23,864 houses would be built under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission at a cost of Rs. 1111.33 crore. There would be nearly 125 blocks, each housing 192 houses on eight floors. Every block would have two lifts. Each house would have a built-up area of 390 square feet and was worth Rs. 4.58 lakh.

The Centre’s share was 50 per cent, the State government contributed 40 per cent, while the beneficiary would have to pay the remaining 10 per cent. Under ETRP, a bus terminus would be constructed in Semmanchery at a cost of Rs. 1.26 crore.