Article from ET Realty
KOCHI: The city’s councillors are against the idea of providing housing to the poor in a small 320 sq ft dwelling. They said that the space is too constricted at Saturday’s special council meeting that discussed the implementation of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY). Councillors belonging to UDF and LDF asked the local body to take up the matter with state government and seek Centre’s approval to double the area. The scheme aims to rehabilitate people living in the slums. The corporation’s rough estimate is that there are 10,363 homeless persons in Kochi alone.
Opposition leader K J Antony felt that the area was inadequate, without separate benefits for SC and ST communities. Senior UDF councillor K R Premkumar said the project did not address the needs of the urban poor. “Their requirements are entirely different from their counterparts in north India,” he said, citing the example of 320 sq ft homes built by GCDA in Chirakkal that had no takers.
The councillors – who were clueless about the finer aspects about PMAY – wanted the civic body to provide clarity on aspects like private partnership, ownership of land and interest on loan given under the scheme. Sunil Abraham, representative of Urban Housing Mission – the nodal agency for implementing PMAY – made a detailed project presentation before the councillors.
Abraham said that the Centre was against relaxing norms and the state government would have to bear the expenses of any such relaxation. Deputy mayor T J Vinod said the civic body might lose the project if they did not obey stipulated norms.