Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Union Minister Giriraj Singh on Sunday alleged that deserving beneficiaries are getting deprived of the benefits of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in Odisha. The Minister further alleged that funds under the schemes allotted to the Odisha government are being embezzled.

As per the minister, who is currently on a visit to Odisha, the UPA government had allotted only Rs 26,000 crore to Odisha for rural development and panchayatiraj. However, Narendra Modi government has allotted more than Rs 1 lakh crore in this regard.

“UPA government had sanctioned only 10 lakh houses to Odisha. But Prime Minister Modi has allotted 28 lakh houses to the State under PMAY. Similarly, UPA had sanctioned only Rs 6,700 crore to Odisha under MGNREGA. However, Modi government has sanctioned Rs 27,000 crore to the State under the scheme,” said Minister Singh.

He alleged that despite the increase in funds by the Modi government, deserving beneficiaries are getting deprived of the benefits of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) and MGNREGA in the State.

“Around nine lakh houses are yet to be completed in Odisha. New beneficiaries are not included in the scheme. Funds under the schemes are being embezzled in the State,” said Singh.

“Prime Minister Modi has said that the development of Eastern Odisha will not happen without the development of Odisha. The people of Odisha should ask the State government why they are getting deprived of the benefits of PMAY when Modi government is providing the grants,” he added.

On the other hand, BJD denied the minister’s allegations by saying that the Centre is not cooperating with the State government.

“The Centre is bringing false allegations. They didn’t open the websites for so many days and as a result the PMAY beneficiaries list was not accepted. Subsequently, the Chief Minister held a discussion with the Centre following which they gave us the assurance to allot 9, 35,000 houses. However, the promise was not kept,” said senior BJD leader Amar Satpathy.

“After that they changed the guidelines for which it has become impossible to provide the deserving beneficiaries the benefit of the PMAY scheme. It has become difficult even to identify eligible beneficiaries due to the frequent changes in the guidelines. Action should be taken against the persons who are involved in corruption. The Centre is only trying to defame Odisha by harping on corruption,” said Satpathy.

Meanwhile, Odisha BJP targeted the State government over the inordinate delay in allotting houses to deserving beneficiaries under PMAY.

State BJP General Secretary Prithviraj Harichandan said that their party will stage protests if the list of the deserving beneficiaries is not prepared within 15 days and work orders are not issued before the rainy season.

“There has been massive corruption in selecting eligible beneficiaries under PMAY scheme in Odisha. As a result, work orders for the construction of around nine lakh houses, allotted by the Centre, have not been issued so far. As some of the ruling party leaders have taken Rs 20,000 from many ineligible candidates, they are scared to strike out their names from the list,” said Harichandan.

Meanwhile, resentment is brewing among PMAY beneficiaries. Though several beneficiaries have their names in the list, their work orders are yet to be issued.

Take the case of Palu Murmu from Talasahi village under Kaptipada village in Mayurbhanj district. His name has been included in the PMAY beneficiary list. However, the work order for the same is yet to be issued.

Similar is the case for Sunil Nag from Padlaguga village under Nandahandi block in Nabarangpur district. A total of 507 villagers including Sunil’s wife have been included in the beneficiary list. But they have been waiting for a long time to get the work orders.

“We are hopeful of constructing our house with the help of the government help before the rainy season. However, our hopes have been dashed. Our names have been included in the beneficiary list. But, we are clueless about the government's help. We have been waiting for a long time to get monetary assistance. However, nothing is clear yet,” said Murmu.

As per BJP, the Centre has already sanctioned 9.5 lakh houses to the Odisha government which have not been allotted to deserving candidates yet.

However, BJD has refuted the allegation by saying that the Centre is yet to sanction six to seven lakh more houses. While both parties are accusing each other in connection with the proper implementation of PMAY, deserving beneficiaries are suffering by getting deprived of houses sanctioned under the scheme.

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