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STATE’S RS 30,000-CR DREAM PLAN NEEDS FUNDS FROM CENTRE BUT ALSO SPACE IN CITY

funds-centre1Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee dreams of a slum-free country in five years. But for Mumbai at least, that may remain a pipedream. Till last count as of January 2001 there were 60 lakh slumdwellers in Mumbai-Thane alone and 1.35 crore in the state. Rehabilitating all of slum dwellers in the next five years, according to a state government estimate, will take a whopping Rs 30,000 crore. And that’s not all. The government, reeling under a Rs 1.85 lakh crore debt burden, is in no position to shoulder the cost of the scheme and is hoping the Centre does so. Plus, Mumbai has a lion’s share of the state’s slums but little or no place to move them. While the task is difficult, success will depend on financial assistance from the Centre and the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. If the Centre does not come to the rescue of the state, there will be no option but to abandon the landmark proposal.

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