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Housing funds stuck in red tape, Bundelkhand families spend winter nights in shanties

Beneficiaries are slated to get Rs 2.5 lakh in three instalments under the ambitious Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojna.

bhopal Updated: Jan 01, 2018 16:50 IST
Anupam Pateriya
Anupam Pateriya
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Bundelkhand,Housing Funds,Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojna
Villagers who live in the villages inside the Panna Forest Reserve in Chhattarpur district In Madhya Pradesh’s Bundelkhand, on October 18, 2016.(HT File Photo/Representational)

Hundreds of families in Bundelkhand are forced to spend their nights in the biting cold because they have not received funds for constructing houses under the Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojna.

With their old houses demolished, they now reside in makeshift shanties that do little to keep the elements at bay. A majority of such families live in Sagar and Tikamgarh districts.

The beneficiaries are slated to get Rs 2.5 lakh in three instalments under the scheme. Eligible candidates have to first demolish their houses, provide a layout marking of their plot, and then approach the officials with photographic evidence. The instalments are sanctioned in accordance with the progress of house construction.

The authorities are supposed to inspect the structure after the first phase, following which the second instalment is sanctioned. But hundreds of these beneficiaries continue to await funds after clearing the plots for house construction, officials said on the condition of anonymity.

As per official sources, Sagar district’s Khurai Nagar Palika alone has as many as 2,050 houses slated for construction under the scheme. However, only 1,185 beneficiaries have received sanction letters until now.

Kaladevi Vishwakarma, a resident of Nanak ward, said she demolished her house over two months ago and submitted photographs of the layout to the officials concerned. “However, we have not even received the first instalment until now. We are weathering the winter in a makeshift shanty these days, and my husband blames me (for signing up for the scheme),” she said.

Rani, a neighbour, said she has spent the last four months waiting for the first instalment of funds. Two others, Bharat Mukherjee and Rano Bi, told HT that they have been waiting for two.

Tulsa Bai is luckier, but only just. Her family laid the foundations of the house and side walls after receiving the first two instalments, but the third seems to be stuck in red tape. “Only after receiving the third instalment can we complete our house,” she said.

Khurai Nagar Palika chief municipal officer BL Singh said the bank accounts of some beneficiaries became defunct due to lack of transactions, and officials were in the process of renewing them. “They should be able to resume work on their houses soon,” he added.

Beneficiaries at Badagaon Nagar panchayat in Tikamgarh district have similar complaints. Tillu Khagar from ward 12 said he demolished his old house, after which he received Rs 40,000 as the first instalment. “We laid the foundations of our new residence with that, but then the money stopped coming in. We have been living in chilly conditions for two months now,” he added.

Bhaiyan Khagar, another beneficiary from the same ward, is also awaiting his second instalment of building funds. His neighbour, Raju, has not even received the first one.

Badagaon Nagar panchayat president Ram Charan Kasgar denied reports that the administration has stopped depositing funds into the bank accounts of beneficiaries. “A team from Bhopal has to inspect the progress for the second and third instalments. We hope they come soon,” he added.

Sagar division commissioner Ashutosh Awasthi, whose jurisdiction extends over the five districts of Bundelkhand region, said he will investigate the matter and take appropriate action. “The Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana is meant to benefit the people. Action will be taken against officials who cause inordinate delays in its implementation,” he added.

First Published: Jan 01, 2018 16:50 IST

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