The project of making Bathinda slum-free is yet to see the light of the day as the Bathinda municipal corporation (MC) has not moved an inch after the completion of the survey related to people living in slums, under its jurisdiction.
In 2014, the Punjab government conducted a detailed survey under Rajiv Awas Yojna, now Prime Minister Awas Yojna (PMAY), a scheme of Union ministry of housing and urban poverty alleviation, and collected data pertaining to people living in slums, in order to prepare concrete plans for their rehabilitation.
The survey, conducted by a Kolkata-based firm, identified 30 slum areas in Bathinda and submitted a report, estimating at least Rs 700 crore required for rehabilitation of these colonies, situated in trans railway line areas.
The Bathinda civic body claims that the slums population is of 41,153 people, comprising of 8,099 households, which is 14.4% of its total urban population (2,85,788).
A senior MC official said that the company completed its survey and submitted report to the corporation authorities in 2015, but instead of proceeding further, the project went into pipeline. “Even the process of identifying land for rehabilitation of these families is in limbo for the past two years,” he said.
However, Bathinda mayor Balwant Rai Nath said the corporation has submitted survey findings to Punjab Urban Development Board (PUDA) to check the financial viability for rehabilitation of the residents of slum areas.
“The project requires at least Rs 700 crore, due to which it has been delayed. Under the scheme, the Central government will bear 50% of the total expenditure of the project, while the rest will be contributed by the state and Bathinda municial corporation,” he added.
The mayor added that instead of the shifting to some other area, the civic body has proposed that rehabilitation should be in the location of the slum.
“Even the Central government scheme, under PMAY, ‘Housing for all by 2022’, has failed to attract the slum population in Bathinda as people are banking upon government to bear all expenses of construction of their households,” Nath added.