After the Naveen Patnaik-led BJD posted a landslide victory in the Panchayat elections held in February, a second Central team during the visit in the first week of March has stumbled upon how the logo of Biju Pucca Ghar towered over Pradhan Matri Awas Yojana in many Gram Panchayats.
The Central team got piqued at the disproportionate representation of the logo, when the Centre contributed 60 percent for the PMAY houses and State pitching in the rest 40 percent.
Significantly, the Central team paid its second visit to the State after the submission of the Action Taken Report (ATR) by the Odisha government on the findings of the gross irregularities in PMAY in Odisha by the first Central team from Rural Development Ministry in the year 2021.
Saath Saath Retake?
Sensing the vote magnet potential of the PMAY scheme, the Odisha government seems to be on the mode of taking a political retake on the Farooq Shiekh- Depti Naval starred 1982 social drama Saath Saath.
In fact, BJD's super show in the recently held Panchayat elections is being majorly attributed to the scheme-play by the Naveen Patnaik-led dispensation.
BJD women wing head Pramila Mallick is evident to the assumption. The State Election Commission has barred her from campaigning for the statement "Don't come to me with your grievances on PMAY/IAY and ration card after voting to some other party."
The ruling BJD seems determined to sing the Jagjit Singh song - Yeh Mera Ghar...
On the other hand, with PMAY having been a Central scheme and, as the Modi govt contributes 60 percent of the funds, the BJP-led Centre is equally determined to say Yeh Mera Ghar... And striking a different note to the Jagjit Singh number that said Yeh Ghar Bahut Hassen Hai, the Central team sings the tune Yeh Ghar Poor Quality Ka Hai in Odisha.
In a written reply in Rajya Sabha, Union Rural Development Minister Gririraj Singh had informed that the visiting Central team between Mar 2-4 had found poor construction quality of the PMAY houses in Odisha.
Awaas Plus Story
Prior to the elections in the rural Odisha, the ruling BJD MPs in the Rajya Sabha raised how the Modi government is not opening the Awaas+ portal to include eligible households.
The Central team that had recently visited the State to take stock of the Odisha government's ATR has made it clear that the Awaas+ survey has not been conducted properly.
Moreover, inspection by the State Government functionaries is almost negligible and social audit of the scheme is not being conducted.
The prevalence of such a pathetic ground report of PMAY in Odisha has been brought to the fore by a reply of Union Rural Development Minister Giriraj Singh to a question by BJD RS MP N Bhaskar Rao on Wednesday.
Awaas Cinemascope Soap Opera
In the first part of the Budget session, BJD MPs in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha had accused the Central government of showing step motherly attitude to Odisha, when it had allowed Karnataka to add surveyed eligible households on the Awaas+ portal.
The BJD Charge: Central government nodded synchronisation of the Karnataka Housing Department data with Awaas + portal, whereby over 25 lakh people become eligible to get PMAY house.
- But despite CM Naveen Patnaik's repeated missives for 2.5 years, the Centre is not giving permission to synchronise 6.65 lakh new tribal beneficiaries from Odisha in the Awaas+ portal.
The Central Govt Reply: As per the Union Rural Development Ministry's official reply, the Awaas+ survey for all States/UTs, including Odisha, was started in January, 2018 with the initial deadline of 31st March, 2018. And it was extended 4 times till 30th June 2018, 30th September 2018, 30th November 2018 and finally till 7th March, 2019.
But, as per CM Naveen Patnaik's letter, the State government was unable to conduct the survey for the following reasons.
- Govt machinery was busy in the 2019 general elections preparatory work.
- Network problem
- Maoist violence
The reply further added that 30 days window from August 27, 2019 to Sept 10, 2019 and Sept 25 to Oct 9 2019 had been granted to Odisha for capturing and uploading details of households affected by cyclone Fani in 14 districts.
But synchronisation allowed to Karnataka for the following reasons.
- Karnataka had completed the exercise of identification of left out beneficiaries on the
State’s own portal and not on Awaas+.
- The exercise was completed within the deadline given for Awaas+ i.e. till 07.03.2019.
- Therefore, the State was allowed to synchronize data captured till 07.03.2019 from State’s portal to Awaas+
The Ghar - Ek Nazar
With politics over the house taking the centrestage in the State, the pace of PMAY in Odisha had slowed down over the years. Consider the following.
As per the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) data, Odisha constructed over 4.31 lakh PMAY-G houses in the year 2017-18, the number dwindled to 4.03 lakh in 2018-19, 3.61 lakh in 2019-20, 3.95 lakh in 2020-21 and 88,938 in 2021-22(till March 9, 2022).
Why The Nosedive?
- The data shows that the beneficiary registration in the State has nosedived during the last three consecutive years.
- And in sync with the lower registration, the construction of houses in the State had also shown a sharp dip during the corresponding years.
- Landless beneficiaries enlisted in PWL have been 57,932 in Odisha.
- The State government has provided land or financial assistance to purchase a homestead land stood at 9,281.
- A whopping 48,651 families are yet to receive land or assistance.
Under the PM Awas Yojana (Gramin), going by the SECC 2011, a whopping over 18.36 lakh beneficiaries were found eligible under the scheme. Moreover, under the AWAS+ based survey, another 7.46422 lakh were found eligible to avail of the PMAY-G.
This shows a total of 25.82 lakh households in Odisha are eligible to avail the benefit under the PMAY-G scheme.
In such a backdrop, data with MoRD shows the Odisha govt has completed a total of 16.79 lakh houses. Another over 9.8 lakh are yet to find a PMAY house, when the Housing for All target of Central govt has been the year 2022.