PM Awas Yojana: Centre ‘not satisfied’ with progress, tells state to expedite project work
Against the projected demand of 3.48 lakh houses in cities across the state, the Punjab government has sanctioned only 56,939 houses, a little over 16%, so far under the programme launched by the Centre four years ago.Updated: Nov 14, 2019 22:12 IST
Chandigarh The Union ministry of housing and urban affairs (MoHUA) has raised questions over the tardy pace of progress made by the Punjab government in the implementation of Prime Minister Awas Yojana (PMAY) in urban areas of the state.
The ministry, which reviewed the progress in a meeting of the project sanctioning and monitoring committee last month, expressed dissatisfaction with the number of houses sanctioned by the local urban bodies department of the state government under PMAY (Urban) vis-à-vis the housing demand. Against the projected demand of 3.48 lakh houses in cities across the state, the Punjab government has sanctioned only 56,939 houses, a little over 16%, so far under the programme launched by the Centre four years ago.
Of the sanctioned houses, merely 2,833 have been completed and work on another 6,986 is in various stages whereas work order has been issued for around 24,500 houses till September 30, 3019. “The ministry has not been satisfied with the pace of project implementation. The department has been asked to make sincere efforts so that all eligible urban poor can get housing benefit under the programme,” said an official who did not want to be named, quoting from a letter sent by MoHUA on October 15. The project sanctioning and monitoring committee meeting was chaired by secretary, housing and urban affairs, Durga Shanker Mishra.
The state government had arrived at the projected demand of 3.48 lakh houses after a survey was carried out by the urban local bodies department in all 164 towns. The centrally sponsored scheme was launched on June 25, 2015, for ensuring housing for all in urban areas by 2022 by way of beneficiary-led individual house construction (BLC), credit linked subsidy scheme, affordable housing in partnership and ‘in-situ’ slum redevelopment.
Director, local bodies, Karnesh Sharma, said the project was being handled by the Punjab Urban Development and Planning Authority (PUDA) earlier and three of its components, except affordable housing in partnership, were transferred to the local bodies department last year. “The project implementation work has been expedited considerably in the past one year by completing houses, starting new works and identifying fresh beneficiaries. The projected demand of 3.48 lakh dwelling units is for both rural and urban areas,” he said, putting the number of houses needed in towns at approximately 1.50 lakh.
A department official said that efforts were being made to create awareness and identify more beneficiaries but not many were forthcoming.
In September 2019, the local bodies department submitted a proposal for construction of 10,332 houses for weaker sections under BLC projects at a cost of ₹318 crore, including the central government’s share of ₹155 crore, state share of ₹25.83 crore and the beneficiary contribution of ₹137 crore. These dwelling units will be constructed in 90 towns, including 2,115 in Jalandhar, 1,095 in Amritsar, 700 in Bathinda, 675 in Gidderbaha, 620 in Ludhiana, 510 in Moga, 421 in Patiala, 400 in Phagwara, 385 in Pathankot and 300 Ferozepur.
Though the housing and urban affairs ministry approved funding for these dwelling units in the meeting with release of first instalment of ₹62 crore, the state authorities have also been told to submit project plans for 20,000 to 25,000 houses in every meeting to meet the demand. They have been asked to prepare plans for industrial towns such as Ludhiana that have slums.
“The purpose of the PMAY (U) is not only to provide housing to the beneficiaries but also to make cities slum-free,” reads the communication from the ministry. The state government, which indicated to the ministry that it is contemplating to revise the demand to lower side, has also been asked to provide segment-wise data for general and scheduled caste beneficiaries and expedite utilisation certificates for funds to the tune of ₹161 crore released earlier.