The housing scheme launched by Vadodara Urban Development Authority (VUDA) under the Mukhyamantri Gruh Yojana, an ambitious scheme for poor urban dwellers initiated recently by the state government as part of the 2012 poll promise, has drawn cold response from the beneficiaries, with the urban development agency having to stretch the time limit to sell application forms.
On January 18, VUDA started distributing forms for 4,128 flats under two schemes, one meant for poor families, or those with income not exceeding Rs 1 lakh, and another meant for families under lower income group, or those with income not exceeding Rs 2.5 lakh.
However, with the poor response from beneficiaries, the last date for distributing the form was extended from February 7 to February 17, while the last date for accepting the forms was extended from February 19 to February 21. So far, a little over 2,000 forms have been distributed, officials said.
The housing schemes for the poor, or the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS), which makes for a large chunk of the VUDA flats on offer to the urban poor in the city, has especially been met with tepid response, with some officials blaming the recent incident of twin building collapse at Madhavnagar Society in Atladara for being responsible for that.
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Two buildings of a housing scheme developed by the VUDA at Madhavnagar in Atladara had collapsed in August last year, killing 11 residents. The residents had put the blame squarely on VUDA and the poor quality materials used in the construction of the houses.
The 1BHK flats being offered under the EWS category will cost the beneficiaries Rs 3 lakh, with the government offering a subsidy of around Rs 2 lakh.
“The memory of the building collapse is still fresh and VUDA had received negative publicity for that, which continues to haunt it, as reflected in the way the forms were sold,” an official said.
Another official, however, said the slow sale of forms may be attributed to the fact that the Gujarat Housing Board (GHB) and Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) had put their housing schemes on offer before the VUDA. “With the fee being as high as Rs 7,500 for the EWS and Rs 15,000 for the LIG, not all can afford to fill many forms for the same scheme. Since the GHB and VMC came with their schemes before VUDA, many beneficiaries purchased the form and may not be interested in buying them again,” the official said.