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Andhra Pradesh builds houses for the poor

By Gayatri Ramanathan in Mumbai
May 26, 2006 14:36 IST
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When Sarojamma and her family of eight migrated to Hyderabad from neighbouring Warangal, owning a house in the sprawling metropolis was the last thing they dreamt of.

Today, thanks to an Andhra Pradesh government sponsored project, she and three thousand others are the proud owners of 260 sq ft flats.

The award-winning Valmiki Ambedkar Awaas Yojana, actually began with a huge fire in February 2005 which consumed nearly 2000 huts in a 25 acre slum in the Saidabad area of Hyderabad.

The district administration, instead of allowing the slum to rebuild itself, decided to step in provide quality housing for the squatters.

Says Arvind Kumar, who was the district collector at that time, "The city has seen tremendous growth in the number of migrant labour in the last few years given the drought in the surrounding districts and lure employment here. The city which has always been free of slums was beginning to sport a few slums, with squatters taking over opens paces, government lands and footpaths. So when the fire destroyed a part of the Saidabad slum, we decided to rehabilitate the people in good quality housing rather than allow the slum to sprout again."

And so the district administration got together with the slum-dwellers and chalked out a plan which involved their involvement at every step - right from the Drawing up of the plans to the actual building and its supervision.

While the construction was entrusted to the AP Housing Development Corporation, a citizens' committee of sorts kept tabs on everything from the concrete mix to the work schedule.

"And since most of them Are anyway construction workers, they got employment on the site too," added Kumar.

The administration has also provided a school and a primary health centre in the colony. The colony like all other housing colony has its bore well and storage tanks for water.

"Drainage, water and electricity is being provided by Hyderabad Metro Water Supply & Sewerage Board," added district manager housing, Vijaya Lakshmi.

Kumar clarified that the idea was not to "give away homes but rather to create a stake for the slum-dwellers in the city's well-being."

Each beneficiary was asked to contribute 10 per cent of the unit cost of Rs 70,000, the state government contributed Rs 30,000 towards each house while the administration organised loans for the would-be home owners from PSU banks to the fund the remaining Rs 33,000.

Of the total project cost of Rs 21.16 crore (Rs 211.6 million) Rs 9.07 crore (Rs 90.7 million) was a subsidy from HUDCO, Rs 9.97 crore was the loan component, also from HUDCO, while beneficiaries contribution was Rs 2.11 crore (Rs 21.1 million).

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Gayatri Ramanathan in Mumbai
Source: source