Mrunal Manmay Dash

As the Odisha government published the final list of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) beneficiaries, allegations of deliberate omissions and inclusion of ineligible beneficiaries, have begun to pour in.

For instance, enraged by the omission of their names; some PMAY beneficiaries in Kendrapara’s Mendhapur panchayat locked up the husband of the Sarpanch in the Gram Panchayat office.

Mumtaz Begum, a PMAY house hopeful in Mendhapur said, “The officials have come to our houses many times for inquiry and had assured us that we will be granted PMAY house when the next allotment comes. But the list which was published yesterday does not have our names.”

Sopan Khan, husband of Mendhapur Sarpanch said, “Ineligible beneficiaries with concrete buildings have their names in the list. The BDO prepared the list without asking me and hanged it at the office. I do not have anything to do with this list.”

Similarly, tension prevailed at Kharsahapur village under Balasore’s Bahanaga block after the final list of the beneficiaries was put up at the panchayat office. They alleged, despite applying multiple times, their names have not been included in the PMAY beneficiary list.

Dukhi Rout of Krushnapur village under Chandapur Gram Panchayat who had his name listed in the 2018-19 waiting list, found his name missing from the final list published yesterday. Similar reports have started to come from several panchayats under Koraput’s Narayanpatna block.

In fact, a face-off between the Sarpanch and BDO at Bandhugaon block in Koraput had hogged the headlines just two days back where Sarpanches of two panchayats alleged that the official has omitted many beneficiaries from the final list while adding many names of ineligible beneficiaries.

Meanwhile, the Opposition, particularly the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is reportedly preparing to launch a state-wide protest demanding PMAY homes for eligible beneficiaries. While the road map of the protest will be finalised at the BJP’s State Executive meet on January 22, it has been learnt that the saffron party will launch protests at Panchayat, Block and PD-DRDA offices across the State.

Leader of Opposition, Jayanarayan Mishra said, “It is a travesty that despite lakhs of PMAY homes granted by the Centre, poor people with thatched houses do not get one. Block offices have become the epicenter of corruption in Odisha.”

Congress on the other hand, demanded vigilance probe into the irregularities in short-listing of the beneficiaries. Senior Congress leader, Narasingha Mishra said, “The poor have been neglected in Odisha since long. Large scale corruption has taken place in distribution of PMAY houses in Odisha. Even the rich have received 3-4 PMAY homes per family in Odisha. There should be a vigilance inquiry into this,” Mishra demanded.

However, Odisha Panchayati Raj Minister Pradeep Amat refuted the allegations of corruption. Speaking to reporters, Amat said, “People can submit their grievances at block offices and to the district Collector. The State government is committed to provide PMAY houses to eligible beneficiaries only."

It is worthwhile to mention here that the government has set January 24 as the last date for submitting grievances. After that gram sabhas will be convened & the list will be updated.

(Reported By Harihar Chand, OTV)