Agartala, Jul 29 : Agartala, the 175-year-old capital of princely Tripura, is all set to be free from slums within the next five years.
The Union ministry of urban development has approved a project sent by the state’s urban development department for removal of slums and rehabilitation of the residents under government housing schemes.
According to the latest information available from the urban development department, the Centre has sanctioned Rs 216 crore in the first phase under Rajiv Gandhi Awas Yojana to dismantle slums and rehabilitate bona fide residents in government’s housing complexes to be built with central funds.
Disclosing this during an interaction with the media, the chief executive member of Agartala Municipal Council, Milind Ramteke, said the council had conducted a survey in and around Agartala to gather detailed information about the slums.
According to the survey, 163 slums exist within the council areas with a population of more than 2.5 lakh. “Most of the slums exist on the banks of Hawra and Katakhal that trifurcate Agartala town. The people living in these slums also continue to pollute the rivers which are the main sources of drinking water for residents of Agartala.
“Now that the Union ministry of urban development has sanctioned our plan, we will commence work in right earnest to build housing complexes where the slum-dwellers will be given accommodation. All slums will be dismantled to keep the rivers clean and unpolluted. Apart from the slums on river banks, there are many others and steps will be taken to have them removed by making provisions for housing, water and electricity for the dwellers there,” Ramteke said.
He said recently, the council had been forced to hike property and water tax for residents within its areas, but it had no other alternative in the face of sustained pressure from the Centre and particularly from the Union urban welfare ministry for mobilising additional resources.
“The council is also trying for a ADB loan for which there are conditions that include absence of slums and appropriate measures to keep air and water clean and pollution-free. This is the reason for tax hike and other measures,” Ramteke said.