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Over 300 towns and cities for Government’s “Housing for All Scheme”

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New Delhi: The Central government has recognized over 300 towns and cities across 9 states for implementation of its “Housing for All Scheme” an official said.Housing

“Three hundred and five cities and towns have been identified in nine states for beginning construction of houses for the urban poor,” the housing and urban poverty alleviation ministry said.  

The ministry will provide assistance of over Rs.200,000 crore over the next six years to enable two crore urban poor get their own houses, it said.

The selected cities and towns are in Chhattisgarh (36 cities/towns), Gujarat (30), Jammu and Kashmir (19), Jharkhand (15), Kerala (15), Madhya Pradesh (74), Odisha (42), Rajasthan (40) and Telangana (34).

Under the Housing for All initiative, two crore houses are targeted to be built for the poor in urban areas by 2022.

“Within two months of the launch of the Housing for All (Urban) mission, 15 states have signed memoranda of agreement (MoA) with the ministry of housing and urban poverty alleviation, committing themselves to implement six mandatory reforms essential for making a success of the housing mission in urban areas,” the statement said.

The states that have so far agreed to implement the mandatory reforms are Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana and Uttarakhand.

By signing the MoA, the states have agreed to make necessary changes including scrapping the requirement of separate non-agricultural permission in case the land falls in residential zone earmarked in the city or town master plan, and preparing or amending master plans earmarking land for affordable housing, the statement added.

(with inputs from IANS)

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Northern Kerala to Soon Emerge as Major Tourist Attraction

The department has pumped in almost Rs 500 crore in the area for tourism and infrastructure development

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Northern Kerala to Soon Emerge as Major Tourist Attraction
Northern Kerala to Soon Emerge as Major Tourist Attraction. IANS

Are Kovalam and backwaters the first things that come to mind when thinking of Kerala? All that’s set to change as more places will soon be added to the bucket list from ‘God’s own country’ — at an outlay of Rs 500 crore.

The Kerala Tourism Department is taking new initiatives and expanding its horizons, not just in the southern belt but also the northern zone with new “must visit” destinations.

“Kerala has seen a strong tourism sector since two decades and we have been doing well domestically and internationally.

“We are starting new destinations in different geographical areas. We are widening our canvas and including new destinations,” P. Bala Kiran, Director, Kerala Tourism told IANS.

He added that the northern parts of the state like Wayanad, Kannur, Kozhikode, Thissur, Malapuram and Palakad are on the list of new tourism destinations.

“This will be a separate circuit which will be complementing the existing tourism circuit in south Kerala,” Kiran stated.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

While the peak season for visiting the state is mainly November to February, the Tourism Department is also chalking out plans to attract tourists round the year.

And for that, the department has pumped in almost Rs 500 crore in the area for tourism and infrastructure development.

“We are also planning out new ventures like introducing river cruise facility in Malabar, making a Kameshwari heritage project, Jatayu Earth Centre which will feature world’s largest bird sculpture and offering plethora of adventure and rejuvenating activities and others,” Bala noted.

The department is also focusing on alluring young tourists by offering multiple adventure activities — water-based sports like river rafting and kayaking as also trekking, paragliding.

Recently, Kerala also bagged ‘Best destination for families’ award through an online poll which was conducted by Lonely Planet magazine.

Bala added in the past one year, Kerala has witnessed tremendous growth in tourist arrivals — both domestic and internatinal.

Also Read: Infosys Donates Rs 2.50cr To A Hospital in Kerala

“In 2017 we had 1.09 million international tourists and 14.6 million domestic tourists which is roughly translating into a growth of 11 per cent in the last year,” he added.

Asked about the major challenges being faced by the Tourism Department, Bala pointed out that ensuring safety and security of tourists were the first priority followed by providing world class amenities to the visitors and streamlining the waste management system.

“Kerala government is setting up a Tourism Regulatory Authority which will be a statutory body with full legal powers to intervene and execute orders whenever there are complaints on tourist-related activities,” Bala noted. (IANS)

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