MADURAI: More than 35,000 houses constructed under the Tamil Nadu slum clearance board (TNSCB) during the previous AIADMK regimes are lying vacant and steps are being taken to give them to the needy from the BPL category, minister for rural industries, T M Anbarasan has said.

Speaking to reporters after a review meeting with officials of Madurai and Theni districts, he said that former deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam who was in charge of the slum clearance board, had ordered the construction of these houses in Madurai, Theni, Tirupur, Pudukottai and Coimbatore districts.

In Rajakoor in Madurai, 1,566 houses were constructed in 2011 at a cost of 47 crore. If the same was to be constructed now, it would cost 100 crore or more, he said. The purpose of the houses was to relocate people living along what banks of river Vaigai, but the AIADMK government did not take any steps to relocate them, he said.

Anbarasan said that the Union government provided 1.5 lakh and the state government Rs7.5 lakh, while the beneficiaries had to give 1.5 lakh as their contribution, but they were not willing to pay. The state has now come forward to even organise loans for them for this amount, but still, there are no takers.

Hence, the district collector has been asked to identify people from the BPL category and make them occupy these houses, he said.

The minister said that more than 26,000 houses were lying vacant in various stages of construction in the region of which around 10,000 have been completed.

He said that steps were being taken to renovate houses that were built 40 years ago, which are in a dilapidated condition.

The minister said that chief minister M K Stalin was committed to an equal holistic industrial growth in all the districts and wanted to create more MSME industries to create more jobs.

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