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Slo-mo housing projects irk adviser

Ranchi, Feb. 27: The slow pace of urban housing projects for the poor in Dhanbad and Jamshedpur did not go down well with governor’s adviser Madhukar Gupta, who asked the officials to pull up their socks.

Gupta, who was reviewing projects under Basic Services for Urban Poor (BSUP) and Integrated Housing and Slum Development Programme (IHSDP) today, sternly directed officials of the state urban development department to expedite work and look for new strategies to ensure that all BPL families of Dhanbad and Jamshedpur get houses under central schemes.

Projects worth Rs 500 crore were started in Ranchi, Jamshedpur and Dhanbad under JNNURM a couple of years ago. As many as 15,500 houses are to be built for urban poor in these places.

The funds come from the Union ministry of urban development, local civic bodies and beneficiaries’ contribution.

“In Ranchi, the project is going on at a moderate pace while in Jamshedpur and Dhanbad, the progress is very poor. The adviser asked us to expedite things,” said a senior urban development department official.

In Ranchi, 8,000 houses are to be built in six phases while in Dhanbad, the target is about 3,500 and 4,000 in Jamshedpur. But barring Ranchi, where around 3,000 houses are in different stages of construction, Jamshedpur and Dhanbad cut a sorry figure.

Under IHSDP, low-cost houses are to be built in many smaller cities, including Chaibasa, Hazaribagh, Chas, Giridih, Lohardaga, Gumla, Daltonganj, Phusro, Chatra and Mihizam. The progress of IHSDP projects has been satisfactory.

The total earmarked funds under this head is about Rs 200 crore for about 11,000 individual housing units.

Today’s meeting was attended by urban development secretary Nitin Madan Kulkarni and planning secretary Avinash Kumar, who doubles up as managing director of Greater Ranchi Development Agency, the monitoring agency for BSUP and IHSDP projects.