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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

News Highlights

  • As per the Team's major findings, the houses constructed under the scheme in the State are of poor quality, incomplete houses are shown as completed in MIS of the PMAY-G Scheme and above all houses were sanctioned to ineligible beneficiaries.

The slogan of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to provide a pucca roof on every head seems to be a house of cards as the State's ambitious Vasundhara scheme looks stuttering even after 13-years of implementation. Besides, both the housing and land schemes are bugged by corruption.

 The State is going to fall by yards in accomplishing the national goal of Housing to All by 2022 when it has the second-highest landless households (as per permanent waiting list) in the country. And the Naveen Patnaik govt's much-acclaimed Vasundhara scheme that was implemented since 2005-06, as of date could provide homestead land to only 13 percent of landless households during the last 13-years.

As the scheme plays the key clincher in achieving housing to all in the State, and when the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana- Gramin today completed five years since its launch, the time is ripe to take a reality check on the State government's endeavour to achieve the Housing For All goal.

Vasundhara- No Homing In On?

This ambitious scheme of the Government of Odisha scheme has been launched in 2005-06 to provide homesteads of up to 10 decimals of land to homesteadless families. And the eligibility criteria to get a homestead under the scheme is, one cannot own any other homestead plot and has an annual income of less than Rs15,000. Besides, the individual should not possess more than one standard acre of agricultural land.

However, the scheme hit the first big bump when the State government slashed the land size to 4 decimals in the year 2018 on account of land paucity in the State.

Even providing the four decimal land to the landless households is taking a tortoise walk, when of a total of 60,798 landless beneficiaries in the permanent waiting list in the State, the land was provided to only 8,067 beneficiaries to date.

As a consequence, the PMAY-G in the State is grappling with backlogs, said a Parliamentary Committee report.

PMAY - G Progress Report

The scheme's rate of progress in the State can well be ascertained from the fact that the number of beneficiaries registered under the scheme is less than the target set by the Ministry of Rural Development.

As per the data available with MoRD, the total target of PMAY-G houses for Odisha has been fixed at over 16.76 lakh. But the total beneficiaries registered in the State stands at 16.67 lakh.

On the contrary, states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu have a beneficiary count exceeding the target of MoRD.

While the completion rate in the State has been around 92 percent, the beneficiary registration in the State has nosedived during the last three consecutive years.

The outcome is obvious because the targets under PMAY-G are set annually on the basis of the availability of eligible beneficiaries. Less registration will lead to a lesser allocation of PMAY-G houses for Odisha.

Scams Hits Vasundhara And PMAY-G

When the State is grappling with the gigantic task of housing for all, the key housing schemes in the State are riddled with corruption.

Recently, Odisha Vigilance had detected a scam in the Vasundhara scheme in the Jagatsinghpur district. It had arrested a Tehsildar, the approving authority, under the scheme.

Moreover, the Union Rural Development Ministry had recently constituted a Central Team that visited the State from 9th -11th February 2021 to conduct an inquiry into irregularities in the housing scheme.

As per the Team's major findings, the houses constructed under the scheme in the State are of poor quality, incomplete houses are shown as completed in MIS of the PMAY-G Scheme and above all houses were sanctioned to ineligible beneficiaries.

Highly placed sources revealed that the Vigilance action on the Vasundhara scheme is being seen in the backdrop of the State's affidavit in July this year to the Centre over initiating appropriate action on the irregularities reported by the Central team.

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