THE PUNJAB Urban Development Authority’s (PUDA) inability to prepare a plan for an affordable housing scheme has cost it Rs 80 crore in funds. The amount, allocated by the Centre under 14th Finance Commission, was for providing affordable houses to the economically weaker sections but it has now lapsed and will be returned.
Sources in the PUDA said the development authority was tasked with preparing a plan to spend the grant under the Housing for All scheme. PUDA was made the nodal agency by the Centre in December 2015; it was required to overlook the distribution of the land and study the technical viability of the project.
The Directorate of Housing and Urban Development had written to the Punjab authority and had sought a reply on why the latter had not prepared a plan to utilise the grants. An official at the central directorate said that PUDA didn’t reply to letter sent on March 8, leading to the lapse of the grant.
An official, who wished not to be named, said that if PUDA had acted on time, the grant would have led to affordable houses under the scheme. The officer said that despite repeated reminders, PUDA did not act and that would eventually lead to people having to wait for new housing schemes. “If the Centre is sending money, then what is the problem in PUDA making a plan,” questioned the officer.
R K Jaidka, director, Housing and Urban Development department, confirmed that PUDA did not present a plan.