Over the past week, serpentine queues were witnessed outside Nirman Bhawan following rumours that people can submit forms for the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana — an initiative to provide affordable housing to the urban poor — at the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, a senior official said. Such was the scale of the rumour that officials were prompted to paste a circular outside the building, stating that people who wish to avail benefits under the scheme should reach out to the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) or the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) instead.
People then started visiting the DDA office in Vikas Sadan to submit forms, filling in details like their name, address, income and PAN, only to realise later that the DDA had not launched any such scheme, and that the forms they were filling had not been released by any official.
DDA V-C Tarun Kapoor said, “It seems that to make money, some people printed such forms and sold them. Gradually, news spread and people started coming to Vikas Sadan to submit the form or enquire about it.”
“Initially, the person at the help desk accepted one or two forms, as he might not have known what it was about. Soon, hundreds of people started coming to the office. I was informed about it and I told officers to stop accepting such forms and to tell people that the DDA has not launched any such scheme in the capital,” Kapoor added.
Kapoor said the number of people thronging Vikas Sadan increased so much that the DDA had to issue a press release Thursday to clear the air, stating that it has not launched any EWS housing scheme for allotment of flats under PMAY (Urban).
According to an Urban Development Ministry official, the rumour was spread in an “organised manner”, thereby prompting the officials to paste a circular outside the office.
He also sought to suggest it was the “handiwork of the Aam Aadmi Party”, as it “wanted to give people an impression that the Centre is not giving Delhi residents benefits under the scheme, which has in fact not been adopted in the capital”.
The official added that the “scheme could not be implemented without state government’s support and that the ministry has not received a single proposal from the Delhi government”.
Under the flagship scheme, the Union government provides financial aid to beneficiaries to construct their own homes.
Responding to the Ministry’s accusation, a Delhi government official said they have their own housing scheme — Mukhyamantri Awas Yojana — and a survey for the same is currently underway. “Unlike PMAY, we do not leave out people who have their houses. Everyone is accommodated,” the official said.