CHENNAI: Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Sunday sought a special assistance of Rs 10,250 crore from the Centre for restoring the roads, drinking water, sewerage and stormwater drainage systems damaged by the floods and for constructing one lakh houses for those living along the waterways and slums in Chennai. She said these programmes are of highest priority to her government.
The request for Rs 10,250 crore includes Rs 5,000 crore for providing alternative houses for 50,000 families who live along three major waterways in Chennai and Rs 750 crore towards in situ construction of 50,000 tenements for families living in slums in the city. It also has a Rs 4,500 crore component for restoring the sewerage and drainage infrastructure damaged by the floods in all the four districts — Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram and Cuddalore.
The Chief Minister made this request when Union Minister for Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Venkaiah Naidu called on her at the Secretariat and held detailed discussions on the impact of the recent floods that devastated four northern coastal districts.
During the deliberations, the Chief Minister drew Venkaiah’s attention to the plight of the slum dwellers who were residing along the city’s three major waterways — Adyar, Cooum and Buckingham canal — who had lost their houses and all their belongings.
Pointing out that they were being given shelter in relief camps, she said rehabilitating them would be the highest priority of her government.
She pointed out that as per the detailed enumeration, about 50,000 families have to be given alternative housing at other locations.
The construction of 50,000 tenements for families living in slums could be built under the Central government scheme of Housing for All, the Chief Minister suggested.
Under the scheme, while the Centre gives Rs 1.5 lakh per house, the State government’s share is Rs 1 lakh.
With regard to the restoration of drainage and sewerage systems, the Chief Minister said the urban local bodies could not rely on their own tax revenue for this expenditure since the residents had already suffered large financial losses.
The Chief Minister reiterated her demand for speedy approval of the extension of the Phase I of the Metro Rail Corridor from Washermanpet to Tiruvotriyur at a cost of Rs 3,770 crore, which had been pending with the Centre.
When the Union minister said three types of assistance were available for housing development, the Chief Minister said since most of the affected persons would be unable to make their financial contribution at this stage, a special dispensation would have to be worked out for Tamil Nadu to give substantial assistance.
The Union minister said the State Action Plan under the AMRUT programme, which had already been submitted could be modified based on the changed circumstances as a special case.