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Kerala plans mini-townships at district hqs, other towns — Hudco to finance two townships

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THE Housing and Urban Development Corporation (Hudco) will extend assistance for the creation of two townships in Kerala.

Preliminary steps for building the townships, to come up at Aakulam in Thiruvananthapuram and the Marine Drive in Kochi at an estimated cost of Rs 150 crore, have been completed, according to the Revenue Minister, Mr K.M. Mani. He told newspersons on Friday that the work on the projects would begin soon.

Apart from these two townships, plans are afoot to establish mini-townships in all district headquarters and important towns in the State, he added. The Minister also said that the Government has already handed over 3.25 acres of land to the Kerala State Housing Board (KSHB) for construction of a Hudco-assisted habitat centre in Thiruvananthapuram.

The centre, being modelled on the Habitat Centre in Delhi, is expected to cost Rs 30 crore. The housing board would soon come out with new loan schemes, which would include a project for the weaker sections.

Besides, it will distribute 300 developed plots for construction of houses under various schemes next year.

Listing out the achievements of his Ministry during the last two years, Mr Mani said that loans amounting to Rs 1,062 crore taken by the housing board from Hudco during the previous Left Democratic Front (LDF) Government had been rescheduled for 10 years. It had also obtained relief to the extent of Rs 158 crore in repayments.

The board was also able to repay high interest-bearing loans of Rs 33 crore, taken from Hudco and Housing Development Finance Corporation, by availing itself of low-interest bearing loans from commercial banks.

This enabled the board to save Rs 11 crore by way of interest, Mr Mani said.

UNI adds: The State Government has decided to set up `good governance monitoring cells' at the district, taluk and village levels to streamline the functioning of the Revenue Department and make it more `people-friendly.'

Participating at a programme organised by the Thiruvananthapuram Press Club in connection with the second anniversary of the Antony Government, Mr Mani said the employees in his department would be given special training to develop management skills.

The programme, to begin shortly, would cover the areas of personality development, information technology, new management techniques and how to interact with the general public.

The Minister said land records in the 63 taluk offices would be computerised within a year and all the 1,453 village offices would be covered under the programme in a phased manner.

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