Bolangir: Demolishing several under-construction houses under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Gramin (PMAYG) proved costly for a sarpanch in Bolangir district who was arrested by police on Saturday.
Hemakanti Munda, the lady Sarpanch of Salveta panchayat in Agalapada block was arrested by Loisingha Police for abuse of official power. According to sources, her husband Mohan Munda has also been arrested.
A team led by DSP Ranjita Singh arrested the sarpanch and her husband today. The couple has been forwarded to court. Eight others against whom FIR was filed are still absconding.
On August 11, several under-construction houses sanctioned to tribal families were bulldozed on the order of the sarpanch who has been empowered with collector powers by the State government for Covid-19 management.
Following a complaint by the affected-families at Loisingha Police station, cases were registered against 10 persons.
According to sources, five tribal families were sanctioned houses under PMAY-G. As they did not have their own land, the construction of houses was started on vacant government land at Salveta village after it was allotted to them by the local panchayat and block administration. However, the eviction drive carried out by the Sarpanch rendered the tribal families homeless.
“We have received 2 instalments of PMAY and only after Tehsildar and RI allotted the vacant land, we started construction work. Though the money wasn’t enough, we somehow managed to start construction by availing loans from money lenders. Now the houses have been razed, how will we survive?” said one of the affected-beneficiaries.
The concerned lady Sarpanch, however, had defended her action and said she demolished the houses by exercising the Collector powers she has been empowered with. “I along with my husband and some members of the village committee, demolished the houses as I have been granted the power of a Collector,” Hemakanti had said.
(Edited By Bikram Keshari Jena)