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launching new housing schemes for low-income groups
ISLAMABAD, November 17 (Internews):
Pakistan is to start new housing
schemes for low-income groups, Minister for Local Government Omar Asghar
Khan has said.
In an interview on Pakistan Television Saturday, he said a new sector is
being started in Islamabad where 9,000 plots of three, five and seven
marla-size would be given to deserving persons.
"The government is making efforts to start similar projects in different
parts of the country," he said, adding that in the past under such
schemes people were given plots but instead of building
houses they sold their plots. Some even
purchased plots in bulk in the names of other persons.
"This time, the process of allotments will be made transparent and it
will be ensured that mistakes of the past are not repeated,"
Omar pledged. The
minister said the problem of slums is serious in cities like
Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad and Multan and the
blamed the previous governments for not
carrying out any planning to solve the housing
problem. "We have been building big
housing associations for the well-to-do but no
almost none for those who need them most," Omar noted.
"We have a new policy that is ready for implementation under
which slums that have at least 40 homes
and fulfil preset criteria will be regularised
and provided basic utilities and civic amenities," the
minister said. The emphasis
would be on regularisation of slums and not on shifting
residents of these localities. The government will arrange
sites in case shifting of the slum dwellers is inevitable. These sites
would be near the places of employment. Another
salient feature of the new housing policy is that no one would
be summarily evicted unless provided with an alternative dwelling.
The state-owned House Building Finance Corporation has been given
instructions to issue new loans for housing units after
clearance of stuck-up loans. Similarly,
the micro-finance Khushhali Bank will arrange credit
for housing schemes of poor people.
"Land owning agencies are reluctant to provide sites for shifting slum
dwellers so we have assured them that the government will be
responsible for their land and they should
provide land on suitable rates to people," the minister added. -Internews
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