Mrunal Manmay Dash

Ahead of the Panchayat polls in Odisha, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) tried to corner the BJP by raising the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) issue in the Rajya Sabhs on Thursday.

The BJD asked the Centre to open the PMAY portal in Odisha.

BJD alleged that despite Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s repeated requests to reopen the portal for the benefit of the tribals who were left out in the Awas scheme, no action has been taken to alleviate their plight.

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, BJD Rajya Sabha MP Sasmit Patra said, “Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has written thrice to the Centre in the last as many years urging to include 6 lakh tribals left out earlier, to be provided houses through the Awas portal.Tribals of western Odisha, southern Odisha and the KBK area are largely deprived of the Awas scheme,” Patra alleged.

Citing the example of Karnataka where the Centre has reportedly provided an additional 25 lakh PM Awas houses after opening the portal on January 13, Patra demanded a similar approach for Odisha too.

Responding to the allegations by Patra, BJP State president, Sameer Mohanty said, “The BJD is neck deep in corruption related to the PMAY scheme. At least Rs 1000 Crore has been siphoned off by BJD leaders in Awas scheme which was revealed by the Central officials who conducted an audit in 2020. The audit report was handed over to the Chief Secretary in April 2020, but no action has been taken against the corrpt leaders and officials, instead they are busy in saving each other’s back,” he alleged.

Pertinent to mention here that the Union Cabinet, in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 8, 2021, had approved the proposal made by the Rural Development department for continuation of PMAY-G beyond March 2021 wherein financial assistance is to be provided for the construction of the remaining 1.55 crore houses, as on March 31, 2021 under the scheme within the total target of 2.95 crore houses.

The scheme will continue till March 2024 to ensure that the remaining 155.75 lakh households within the overall target of 2.95 crore houses under PMAY-G would be provided assistance for construction of 'Pucca' houses with basic amenities to achieve the objective of 'Housing for All' in rural areas.

As on November 29, 2021, 1.65 crore PMAY-G houses have been constructed out of the total target of 2.95 crore.