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`Centre committed to urban development'

By Our Staff Reporter



The Union Minister for State for Urban Employment and Poverty Alleviation, Kumari Selja (left); Tejaswini Sriramesh, MP; and the Minister for Housing, Anjana Murthy, at the inauguration of houses built under the Valmiki Ambedkar Awas Yojana at Lagger e in Bangalore on Thursday. — Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

BANGALORE, FEB. 10. The Union Government has constituted a National Mission on Urban Renewal and a National Mission for Basic Service for the Urban Poor for improving facilities in slums and urban areas, Kumari Selja, Union Minister for State for Urban Employment and Poverty Alleviation, said here today.

Inaugurating the first model demonstration houses under the Valmiki Ambedkar Awas Yojana (VAMBAY), at Laggere (Lakshmidevinagar) here, Ms. Selja reiterated the commitment of the United Progressive Alliance Government to take up urban development as spelt out in the Common Minimum Programme. VAMBAY, a Centrally sponsored scheme, has been formulated for slum dwellers in urban areas. The scheme has the primary objective of facilitating construction and upgrading of dwelling units for slum dwellers, providing health, and building community toilets under the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan, which is also a component of the scheme.

Ms. Selja said that in keeping with the national housing and habitat policy (1998), which seeks to address the requirement of shortage of shelters, the Government is playing the role of an enabler, strengthening partnerships among various players in the housing and infrastructure sector. A major objective is to improve access of the people, particularly those among the economically weaker sections, to critical inputs such as developed land, finance, building material and technologies. A committee headed by the Secretary, Urban employment and Poverty Alleviation, has been set up to review the housing and habitat policy, Ms. Selja said.

`Model of economy'

Giving details of the demonstration project, Vishnukant S. Chatpalli, chief of the technology marketing, Building Materials and Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC), said the 125 houses under VAMBAY and the 127 additional houses entrusted to it by the Karnataka Slum Clearance Board are a model of economy in unit space planning.

They are designed to share maximum common walls. Provision for access for vehicles and well-defined open spaces are other features.

The building material and technologies used in construction are random rubble stone masonry in foundation and plinth, load-bearing masonry in solid concrete blocks, in situ RCC (reinforced cement concrete) filler slab for roofing, pre-cast RCC doorframes, and shutters. With these specifications, it is possible to limit the cost of construction to Rs. 220 per sq. ft. The cost per unit (unit area is 275 sq. ft) is about Rs. 60,000.

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