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200 km from city,meet DDA’s house winners

Hari Singh,a daily wage labourer in Bayana,a town 50 kilometres from Bharatpur,earns Rs 80 to Rs 100 on a good day by lifting sacks of wheat at the local mandi.

Written by Arpit Parashar | Bayana |
January 7, 2009 1:19:11 am

In Rajasthan’s Bayana town,housing scheme applicants say area MLC,relatives of former MLA made them apply; near-impossible to raise money for possession

Hari Singh,a daily wage labourer in Bayana,a town 50 kilometres from Bharatpur,earns Rs 80 to Rs 100 on a good day by lifting sacks of wheat at the local mandi. Like many in this small town in Rajasthan,life for Singh and his family — wife Kishen Devi,three children and two grandchildren — is a daily struggle to make ends meet.

What’s worse,as winter bites harder a part of the roof of their hut in Kolipada,a Dalit locality in Bayana’s ward number 4,has fallen off. And Kishen Devi,50,said they do not have enough money to get it repaired.

Their children,two of them in their teens,have never attended school — “we never had money to send them to school” — and work at a tea stall in the town.

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Singh,though,learnt recently that he has been allotted a flat,worth approximately Rs 20 lakh,in the Capital through the Delhi Development Authority’s 2008 housing scheme.

“I never applied for a form,and never paid any application money (Rs 5,678),” he said. “I was told to sign papers by the local councillor.”

Several others from the town also said Sumera and a relative of Attar Singh Badhana,a former MLA from Bayana constituency,had asked them to fill up forms for the housing scheme,now in the eye of an alleged rigging storm.

But refusing to elaborate,area councillor Sumera said,“We just helped him (Hari Singh) fill up the form because he wanted to apply.”

Besides Singh,two others from Bayana have also landed themselves a flat in the DDA scheme. Like Singh,the two others also come from reserved castes.

The Delhi High Court had on December 16 received a complaint that some property dealers had connived with DDA officials and applied for flats under the SC/ST quota under fictitious names. The Delhi Police’s Economic Offences Wing is at present investigating any irregularity in the draw of lots.

Most Bayana applicants from two castes
Ram Gopal,23,had also applied for one of 5,238 flats allotted through a draw of lots on December 16,2008. “The councillor (Sumera) told us the MLA would help us apply and that he would also pay us money for the flat,” Gopal said.

Sumera’s son Pramod Kumar,who handles administrative affairs for the councillor since his father is “illiterate”,said,“We have helped many people in the past and the then MLA (Badhana) had supported us.”

Most applicants from Bayana,Ram Gopal said,are either from Koli or Jatav castes — both classified as Scheduled Castes. Gopal himself is a Koli. The three people whose names figured in the final list of allottees are all from the Koli caste.

Dharm Singh,57,a tailor,said he will “inherit” the flat allotted to his father if he manages to amass the rest of the money to be paid to DDA. He also said Sumera had asked him to apply in his father’s name some four months ago,though his father,a driver with the Indian Railways,had died last February. “But we gave his details in the form since we wanted the house,” Singh said.

Newsline could not contact Roshan Lal,the third allottee from the town; his family refused to discuss the issue. Lal is also a tailor.

Attar Singh Badhana,the former MLA from Bayana,meanwhile told Newsline over telephone: “Neither I nor any of my family members are involved in giving money or support to anyone to apply for the DDA housing scheme.”

Police case
Bayana police officials said “some elements” in the town have been using records of people from the largely illiterate and poor Scheduled Castes to “extort money and property”.

In an incident that could have some bearing with the alleged DDA scam,an FIR lodged with the local police on January 3 (Newsline has a copy) said employees of Bharatpur Central Cooperative Bank connived with a few locals to get loans approved in names of people from Scheduled Caste communities whose families had migrated decades ago.

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