Government-funded rehabilitation project changes lives of slum dwellers in Tripura
With insurgency on the decline in Tripura, both the state and central governments have separately and jointly launched a number of projects to improve the socio-economic status of underprivileged people in the region.
One such project is the recently constructed Swami Vivekananda Housing Complex in Agartala, which is meant for the rehabilitation of slum dwellers of the city.
The complex, with 250 apartments, has come as a boon for people who were forced to migrate from rural areas to Agartala by insurgent outfits, and had been living in slums for years.
"Initially, we were asked to pay Rs 30,000 per family, but later it was cancelled as most of us could not afford it. If we had built it ourselves, we would have spent more than six to seven lakhs, which is impossible for us. We have all the facilities like power and water, and thank the government for it," said Dulal Saha, a resident of the complex.
"Insurgency forced many people to come here, but now the government has initiated many projects for rehabilitating these people," adds Sourab Banik, an engineer.
The housing complex has all the basic facilities like electricity, clean drinking and water. It also has a small market where the residents can buy items of daily use and also a school for children.
Constructed at a cost of Rs. 17 crores, it is the first ever housing complex built in the northeastern region for slum dwellers.
The government is also helping the women residents become self-reliant.
"We are happy to stay here as we get all the basic amenities. Here, some women are working under Tripura Urban Employment Programme (TUEP) while many other have taken loans from Bandhan (micro-finance) and bought auto-rickshaws to earn a livelihood," Mithu Chakraborty, another resident.
The housing complex is a part of Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) that aims to reduce slums all across the country.
A similar housing project with 176 flats is also under construction in Agartala, and is expected to be completed soon.