Updated: February 28, 2021 8:15:26 pm
The Pimpri Chinchwad New Township Development Authority (PCNTDA), better known as Pradhikaran, which proposes to construct 4,883 flats for the poor under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), has drawn fire from the ruling BJP with corporators claiming the scheme seeks to benefit builders and take the poor for a ride.
The corporators have decided to submit a complaint with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and urge that action be initiated against officials “who are working against the interest of the poor”.
BJP corporator Seema Savale, a former standing committee chairperson, told The Indian Express, “Under the low-income group (LIG) category of PMAY, the PCNTDA is offering flats at Rs 32 lakh each. While under the economically weaker section of PMAY, flats are being offered for Rs 9.90 lakh each. Why is there such a vast difference in the rates of flats being offered under PMAY?”
Alleging a builder-official nexus, Savale said the PCNTDA was set up for the purpose of constructing affordable houses for the working class on a no-profit, no-loss basis. “However, in this case, it is observed that PCNTDA is trying to make crores at the expense of the poor. It is blatantly working in the interest of builders,” she said.
Savale also pointed out that the per square feet rate offered by the PCNTDA was more than those offered by builders in Pradhikaran area of the city. “PCNTDA is offering flats of 600 square feet size under LIG category for Rs 32 lakh. In Sector 12 of Pradhikaran, private builders are offering flats at Rs 3,700 per square feet. But PCNTDA is offering them to the poor at an astronomical rate of Rs 5,000 per square feet. This is nothing but outrightly cheating the common people.”
The PCNTDA had bought the land from farmers in Pradhaikaran area more than 30-35 years ago at the rate of Rs 25,000 per acre, the BJP corporator said. “Now it is valuing the same land at Rs 25 crore per acre by adding the spike in the land price. In contrast, the PCMC, while constructing flats for the poor under PMAY, has not added the increased land cost in its projects. Why is the PCNTDA resorting to such objectionable and anti-poor practices?” Savale asked. The rates, she said, had been deliberately hiked to benefit the builders.
Another BJP corporator Asha Shendge said, “The PCNTDA is eyeing Rs 1,000 crore profit when it is not supposed to do so under the law it has been set up.”
The BJP corporators said they have submitted a complaint in the matter to the PMO. “A request is also being made to Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who is Pune’s Guardian Minister, to launch an investigation into this unreasonable and astronomical hike in rate by PCNTDA,” Savale said. She added the party was also planning to approach the court.
According to the BJP, a person who qualifies to get the flat under LIG category and earns Rs 3 to 6 lakh per month will not be able to bear the burden of Rs 27,000-30,000 EMI per month. “Under the LIG scheme, the cost of the flat will be Rs 32 lakh. Under PMAY, a maximum of Rs 2.5 lakh subsidy will be available. For the rest of the Rs 30 lakh, the buyer will have to take a loan,” she said.
When contacted, PCNDA CEO Bansi Gawli said, “It is true that there is a vast difference in the rates. This is because we are offering flats under EWS at a much cheaper rate. And the rate burden has been shifted from EWS to LIG. Under LIG, we are offering bigger size flats and with all basic amenities.” The rates, Gawli added, have been decided by PCNDA when the project was conceptualised four years ago. “PCNDA had sanctioned the rates,” he said.
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