Cancellations, shrinking project size and cost overruns seem to be plaguing slum development projects in Gujarat. According to the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), of the 32,913 houses proposed to be built under the Integrated Housing and Slum Development Programme (IHSDP) — a component of Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) — in 45 towns of the state, only one of the total 45 projects have been completed in the last four years, while 11 others were cancelled.
“All of these 45 projects were approved prior to 2012. However, though more than four years have elapsed, only one project with basic amenities has been completed; eleven projects have been cancelled and remaining 33 projects were under progress. Out of the 17,703 dwelling units to be constructed in 34 projects, only 10,245 units have been completed and only 4,554 of them were allotted to the beneficiaries as on August 31, 2015,” stated the auditor in a report on local bodies that was tabled in the Gujarat Assembly Tuesday.
Launched by the Central government in 2005, the IHSDP was meant to provide houses with basic infrastructural facilities to slum dwellers living in small and medium towns. Under IHSDP, 45 projects with a cost of Rs 534 crore were sanctioned between February 2007-December 2011. While 80 percent of the cost of the housing unit and the basic infrastructure facilities was borne by the Centre, the rest was provided by the state government and the beneficiary. The Gujarat government in 2009 decided to finance the cost of IHSDP from Swarnim Jayanti Mukhya Mantri Shaheri Vikas Yojana (SJMMSVY).
“There was inordinate delay in implementation of the project on the part of the state government. Due to this delay, the cost per dwelling unit enhanced to an average cost of Rs1.70 lakh. However, the contribution of state government, along with the Centre, remained at Rs 1.25 lakh. Resultantly, the burden on the beneficiary became more than 10 percent envisaged in the scheme guidelines,” stated CAG while pointing out that the cost overruns was to be borne by the state government and not by beneficiaries.
“The state government had not enhanced its share (of funds) for meeting the cost of basic infrastructural facilities to be provided in these housing projects through there was a cost over-run due to delay in implementation. Thus, the major burden was on the urban local bodies though their financial position was very weak, which resulted in non-execution of works relating to basic infrastructure in completed projects,” the report added.
The auditor clearly mentions that “inadequate funding for dwelling units and basic infrastructure under SJMMSVY and lack of monitoring by Gujarat Urban Development Mission and Affordable Housing Mission resulted in non-achievement of development of slum areas as envisaged in the scheme guideline, besides depriving the slum dwellers of dignified housing facilities.”