110 families of Berhampur slum finally get permanent homes
For Anwar Khan, a slum resident of Getta near Corporation Road in Silk City, Friday is a day he will not forget soon. With a new home at Somnath Nagar, at a housing complex constructed under the Prime Minister Awas Yojana by the Berhampur Municipal Corporation, Anwar’s is one of the 110 families who were shifted to the new four-storey building meant for them.
Most of the shifted families – all from minority communities – were victims of a fire which had taken place in the slum on January 18 and rendered them homeless.
“Initially, the slum dwellers were reluctant to shift to the new houses, as they would have had to pay 10 per cent of the cost of the house. We have convinced them that it is for their own benefit and arranged for bank loans for them,” said Mamata Bisoi, corporator of ward 17 of the BeMC.
Dwellers of the slum, built illegally on land belonging to the Berhampur Development Authority (BDA), had been eviction by the BDA.
Berhampur MLA Ramesh Chandra Chyaupatnaik, BeMC mayor K Madhavi and commissioner Chakravati Singh Rathore visited the new housing site and inspected the infrastructure facilities there. “The houses were allotted through the lottery system. This is the first such initiative of the government’s plan to make Berhampur slum-free and provide housing to all by 2022,” said the MLA.
Each apartment is around 300 square feet and has a bedroom, a kitchen, a dinning-cum-drawing room, a bathroom and a toilet. “Additional facilities under the project include a community hall, roads, drainage, piped drinking water and electricity,” said assistant executive engineer of the BeMC Nageswar Subudhi.
The cost of each house unit is Rs 4 lakh. Out of the total cost of the house unit, 75 and 15 per cent have been borne by the Central and state governments respectively. “The beneficiary will pay the rest,” Subudhi said.
Some occupants, mainly the elderly and persons with disability have expressed difficulties in climbing the four-storey residential building. Subudhi, however, said the building was constructed according to the guidelines of the scheme and were approved by the government.