At a time,when buying houses are increasingly becoming unaffordable for every section of the society,the special housing scheme for the rural and urban scheduled caste population,envisioned by the state government,seems to have come a cropper.
Documents procured by The Indian Express,under the Right to Information (RTI) Act 2005,show that while funds to the tune of almost Rs 846 crores were released for urban areas,only seven per cent of the houses sanctioned to be built were actually constructed in the past five years
The scheme,aimed at providing housing for the scheduled caste section in both urban and rural areas,was sanctioned by the state government in 2008. To be eligible for the scheme,a person must be a resident of the state for the past 15 years. Income slabs have also been introduced to determine the eligibility of a person to avail the facility. The district social welfare officer was to implement and the directorate of social welfare,Pune,was to be the controlling and monitoring authority.
However till 2013,the implementation of the project,has been abysmal.
The RTI report,procured by this paper,was drawn up by the auditor general (AG) of Maharashtra. During the audit of the working of commissioner of social welfare,it was revealed that although funds were received in time,percentage implementation was really low.
Out of the 25,000 houses to be built in urban areas between 2008 and 2011,only 367 have been constructed. Only 9,330 out of the 64,355 houses,meant to be built in urban areas in the financial year 2011-12,were actually constructed. The scheme has managed to work well in the rural areas,with around 63 per cent implementation.
In sharp contrast to its shoddy implementation,the state government has been fairly regular in disbursing funds for the scheme. While Rs 11 crores were received as grants for 2008-09,Rs 20 crores were received for 2009-10 and Rs 30 crores for 2011-12. This year,Rs 18 crores has been released as grants so far.
In response to the report,the directorate of social welfare stated that land acquisition has posed a major hurdle in the proper implementation of the scheme in the urban area.
At the time of submission of plans,the beneficiary is supposed to deposit the corporation fees. However,many of the projects are pending due to inability of the beneficiary to do the same, the report said.
While commenting on the scheme and its status,senior NCP MLC Jaideo Gaikwad said it was the failure on part of the government and the implementing agency. Although funds are getting transferred,the housing for the poor remains on paper. I would be raising this issue in the forthcoming Assembly session and demand an answer from the government, he said.