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Bengal govt to handover 5 lakh houses to rural poor on January 29: Mamata Banerjee

The chief minister will begin distribution from Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata.

kolkata Updated: Jan 02, 2018 18:08 IST
Koushik Dutta
Koushik Dutta
Hindustan Times
Mamata Banerjee,Mukul Roy,Trinamool Congress
The Bengal chief minister has said that she will fight the saffron camp with her brand of development.(HT Photo)

On January 29 the Bengal government will handover 5 lakh houses to poor families in the villages, chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced on Tuesday in a move that seems to be linked to the forthcoming rural polls.

The rural polls are crucial as these will be rehearsals for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections for which BJP has selected Bengal as a focus state, where it wants to secure 22 seats out of the total 44.

Read: Eyeing rural polls, Mamata announces Rs 12,000 crore additional funds

Families in all districts -- except Howrah and North 24 Parganas that will have two bypolls on January 29 -- will get the benefit.

The rural polls will be an acid test for Mukul Roy who switched from Trinamool Congress to BJP in early November 2017. (HT Photo)

“Houses at Howrah and North 24 Parganas will be distributed after the bypolls in Uluberia Lok Sabha and Noapara assembly constituency,” the chief minister said at the inaugural function of Mati Utsav (soil festival) in Burdwan district.

Read: Bengal rural polls: TMC leaders ready to highlight Afrajul Khan murder in Rajasthan

In Bengal there are a few projects for assistance to the poor to build houses.

A project titled Aamar Bari (My House) was launched in 2013. Under this scheme, a person is given a house with a room, a kitchen and a toilet. Another project 'Nijo Griha Nijo Bhumi' (Own House, Own land), launched in October 2011, envisages handing over 5 decimal of land (about 2,180 sq ft) to eligible families, landless agricultural labourers, village artisans and fishermen in rural areas.

The state also has another housing scheme Adhikar in 11 backward districts. The beneficiaries are given Rs 45,000 as a one-time aid for building a house with a room and a toilet.

Officials in the districts were yet to get details of the schemes under which the houses announced by the chief minister will be distributed. “I have to wait for the government order to get the details of the distribution programme," West Midnapore Zilla Parishad Sabhadhipati Uttara Singh Hazra told HT.

Read: Bengal rural polls: Mamata to fight BJP’s ‘appeasement’ slogan with development

On Tuesday the chief minister also said that the state’s girl welfare scheme Kanyashree has produced a significant collateral benefit -- thwarting child marriages.

“Since the inception of Kanyashree, a total of 120 (minor) girls have come forward to prevent their marriages. I congratulate these brave girls and have directed the police to reward them,” said Mamata Banerjee.

The beneficiaries get a one-time grant of Rs 25,000 and annual scholarships of Rs 500. The target age group is 13 to 19 years for girls from families with income less than Rs 1.2 lakh per annum. The one-time cash is given to the girl is she gets admitted to an undergraduate college/vocational course and is unmarried after 18.

The money is transferred to the bank account of the girl.

First Published: Jan 02, 2018 18:08 IST