The state government is looking at making Thane slum-free under the Centre’s ambitious Rajiv Awaas Yojana (RAY) that aims at providing housing benefits to the urban poor. Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who took a meeting on Thane’s illegal constructions on Friday set the ball rolling by asking the Thane municipal commissioner to prepare an inventory of existing slums in the city.
There are nearly 2.24 lakh shanties in Thane, with encroachments existing on government, municipal corporation, forest and Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) land.
The Thane municipal commissioner has been asked to prepare an inventory of the existing slums by mapping slum clusters and identifying which of them can be rehabilitated in the existing area and which cannot. He has also been asked to identify vacant land that can be used for slum rehabilitation.
Slums on forestland or MIDC land cannot be redeveloped on the same plot and alternate land will have to be identified. Chavan has asked the forest secretary as well as MIDC officials to revert on whether any exception can be made in this regard.
Under the RAY scheme, the Centre provides 50% of the funding for the creation of houses for slum dwellers on the condition that the state government and local bodies initiate certain reforms for the urban poor. This includes providing legal property title to slum dwellers, providing basic amenities like water supply, sanitation, reserving 20% of homes in affordable houses created for the economically backward and for low income groups.
“Chavan has asked the Thane civic chief to prepare this inventory within one week to 10 days, so that we can have an idea of how to prepare a plan for a slum-free city. This will have to be submitted to the Centre with our commitment on implementing reforms,’’ said an official, present for the meeting.