Irregularities in State’s Housing Scheme, beneficiaries made to pay bribes: Jay Panda

Bhubaneswar: Days after allegations on rampant corruption in the implementation of several toilet projects in Odisha surfaced, former MP Baijayant Panda today, has written about allegations on irregularities in the State’s housing scheme. He claimed to have reported the matter to the state government and demanded a vigilance enquiry during his term as an MP but no action was taken.

Making startling revelations through his twitter handle, Panda mentioned that in a review he did of around 8,000 homes supposedly built for the poor people, the Kendrapara district administration could show him records of only about 150 houses.

Referring to a newspaper article that mentioned about failure of rural housing scheme in Telangana, Panda tweeted, “Sadly, in Odisha too. As MP, I reported several such irregularities to state govt. In a review of around 8,000 homes supposedly built for poor ppl, Kendrapada dist admin could show me records of only abt 150 !! I spoke to highest levl & WROTE for vigilance enquiry, but no action.”

In reply to a Tweeple whether all the houses are ‘built’ by the State government, Panda replied saying, “Both State (minor share) and Union government funds are utilised like most government schemes, but ALL “built” by state govt!”

He further added, “Shocking leakage in government housing schemes in Odisha (when MP, I’d written demanding investigation). Beneficiaries receive funds AFTER paying huge bribes, making home building unviable.”

Refuting the allegations, BJD spokesperson Sameer Dash said, “Whatever Odisha government had promised, it is being implemented. I have no information on what the Kendrapara district administration told Jay Panda when he was the MP. The state government had promised to build 25 lakh houses (5 lakh a year) and till now construction of 18 lakh houses is complete.”

The newspaper article also mentioned that the Centre has asked the Telangana government to return Rs 2190 crore given to the state for the construction of rural houses for the poor under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY).

The Telangana government reportedly refused to update the Centre of its progress on implementing the scheme while a senior official mentioned that the State was pushing its own housing scheme which promises two-bedroom houses to all the homeless poor.

A report of The Economic Times also mentioned that the Centre has decided that the target of 70,674 houses allotted to Telangana would now be given “to other well-performing/needy States”.