Khattar takes charge as housing minister: Focus on preventing floods, completing metro projects

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New Delhi, Jun 11 (PTI) In his first official meeting after taking over as the Union minister for housing and urban affairs on Tuesday, Manohar Lal Khattar said his focus will be on the prevention of urban flooding and timely completion of all metro projects in the country.

Ministry spokesperson Rajeev Jain said Khattar also asked officials to plan a massive cleanliness and waste-to-wealth campaign.

"After assuming charge, Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Manohar Lal held the first review meeting with officers today. The minister asked officers to plan a massive cleanliness and waste-to-wealth campaign. Prevention of urban flooding will also be a focused area. He will soon review the implementation of the ministry's state-level schemes," Jain said.

Khattar, 70, has been allotted the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in the newly formed NDA government at the Centre, replacing Hardeep Singh Puri, who has got the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

Puri was the petroleum and natural gas minister in the second Narendra Modi government as well.

First-time MP Tokhan Sahu, who has been given the charge of the Union minister of state for housing and urban affairs, also assumed office during the day.

The ministry later issued a statement saying Khattar stressed the need to carry forward the important work on ensuring clean and green cities and appreciated the efforts under the Swatch Bharat Mission to convert waste to wealth as part of the mission to make all cities garbage-free.

"Highlighting the importance of the metro rail in easing the travel experience of urban areas, the minister said the ministry's efforts to ensure timely completion of all metro projects would be redoubled, as the metro has become the preferred mode of transport that is convenient and safe for all segments of society," it said.

According to the ministry, the minister highlighted the need to further increase the reach of the benefits of PM Svanidhi and the National Urban Livelihood Mission (DAY-NULM) to address the multiple dimensions of urban poverty.

The housing and urban affairs ministry is mandated to execute various projects, including the Modi government's flagship PM Awas Yojna, Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) and the ambitious Central Vista redevelopment plan.

The redevelopment of the Central Vista, the nation's power corridor, envisages a new Parliament building, a common central secretariat, revamping of the three-kilometre Rajpath from the Rashtrapati Bhavan to the India Gate, a new office and residence of the prime minister, and a new vice-president enclave.

Inducted into the Union Cabinet on Sunday, BJP veteran Khattar begins his new innings as a parliamentarian and Union minister.

He joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as a permanent member in 1977 and stayed with it for 17 years before he was made a member of the BJP in 1994. PTI BUN IJT IJT