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Rs. 1,950-crore rehabilitation plan for tsunami victims

CHENNAI, MARCH 24. Hardly three months after the tsunami hit the Tamil Nadu coast killing more than 8,000 people, the Government today unveiled its Rs. 1,950-crore rehabilitation policy.

"About 1.3 lakh families will be provided with concrete houses at an approximate cost of Rs.1.5 lakhs each. The houses will have 300-325 sqft of built-up space," Chief Minister Jayalalithaa told the Assembly.

In Chennai and Tiruvallur, the Slum Clearance Board will construct multistorey tenements. These units, costing Rs. 1.5 lakhs each, will have an area of 235-250 sqft. Non-governmental organisations and corporates will be given priority in reconstructing houses with their own funds.

Joint ownership

All houses will be insured and given in the joint names of the husband and the wife. The houses cannot be sold for 10 years. "Any transfer of the share of the wife's property to the husband will be considered invalid."

Making a suo motu statement, Ms. Jayalalithaa said the houses would have disaster-proof features. The habitations would be properly planned and would have water supply, streetlights, roads, rainwater harvesting structures, drains, community centres and noon meal centres. She also announced grants for repairs to pucca houses (see table).

Ms. Jayalalithaa said Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notifications would have to be followed in building houses. Tamil Nadu comes mainly under CRZ 2 and CRZ 3. CRZ 2 refers to built-up areas in urban settlements and CRZ 3 to rural areas. "In both these zones, houses which were in existence before 1991 can be repaired if damaged." No new construction would be possible in areas within 200 metres of the high tide line.

Hence, owners of all houses within this zone which were damaged could relocate beyond this line and get a house worth Rs.1.5 lakhs. There would be no compulsion. "Even for houses that are not damaged, owners will have the option of getting a new house beyond 200 metres."

Owners of damaged houses located between 200 and 500 metres would get new houses beyond 500 metres. They would have the option of having houses constructed in the existing locations also.

The District Collectors could make minor changes during implementation to suit local conditions after consulting the village-level rehabilitation supervisory committee.

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