MP chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who has completed 11 years in office, on Monday said his New Year resolution would be to provide around 50 lakh landless residents of the state with space for house construction.
Speaking to Hindustan Times at his official residence on Shyamla Hills, Chouhan said the government would prioritise the issue because he can’t stand to see people living without roofs over their heads. When asked where the land was going to come from, he said there was no reason why the poor shouldn’t be given property when the same was being done for industrialists.
He said though people occupying government land could be removed to facilitate development projects, steps would be taken for their rehabilitation.
Chouhan blamed the proliferation of slums in cities across Madhya Pradesh on unplanned development. “If urban zones were planned properly, they would have space for those from weaker sections too. This is the reason for my renewed focus on the planned development of cities,” he said.
The chief minister said he would also ensure that talented students from poor families get an opportunity to pursue higher studies. “If students from the state qualify for IITs, IIMs or any other reputed institute, they need not worry about money or bank loans. The government will shoulder that responsibility,” he added.
Chouhan’s dream projects for the coming year also include the Namami Devi Narmade – a people’s movement to protect the environment. Starting December 11, it promises to be an 82-day journey focused on afforestation, sanitation, soil and water conservation, pollution control measures, and promotion of organic farming methods.
“The holy Narmada is very important for the state, and we will try to preserve it in every possible way,” Chouhan said. Massive plantation work would be undertaken along the river banks, and steps would be taken to stem the flow of untreated effluent into the water body, he added.
The Chouhan government will also take up a new irrigation campaign titled ‘Each drop, more crop’ in the state. “Through this, we will replace the use of canal water with sprinklers. We will also lay pipes across the state, so farmers can benefit from better water supply to their fields,” he said.