The rebuilding of Odisha in the aftermath of Cyclone Fani has emerged as a contentious issue between the BJD and the BJP, following Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s letter to the Centre, seeking the sanctioning of five lakh houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana- Gramin (PMAY-G) and calling for special waivers and funding patterns for the state.
Patnaik’s letter has put the onus of rebuilding the state on the Centre. “The monsoon is likely to reach Odisha around June 10. Therefore, keeping in view the urgency to provide pucca houses to the affected people, we are going ahead with issuing of work orders from June 1… in anticipation of the approval of our proposal by Government of India,” it stated.
Patnaik also requested waiver of PMAY’s Permanent Wait List criterion. The Permanent Wait List is generated to ensure that only the genuinely deprived receive assistance, and that the selection is objective and verifiable. PMAY-G selects beneficiaries using housing deprivation parameters in the Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011, which is to be verified by the Gram Sabhas.
The CM also asked for a funding pattern to be considered, wherein the Centre contributes 90 per cent of the costs: normally under PMAY, the cost of unit assistance is to be shared between the Centre and state of the ratio 60:40 in the plains and 90:10 for North-eastern and Himalayan states.
After the CM’s letter, the Odisha BJP demanded that the state government publish a complete list of all housing beneficiaries by June 1. It has also asked the CM to clarify how people without land pattas are going to receive houses under PMAY. The BJP has also demanded information on the number of houses provided under the state government’s Biju Pucca Ghar Yojana, and whether those houses withstood wind speeds during Fani.
The party has also questioned why the state government used the state Contingency Funds for its schemes such as KALIA and PEETHA — in January, the BJP had criticised the Patnaik government after a letter from the Finance Department revealed the withdrawal of over Rs 734 crore from the state’s contingency fund for implementation of the KALIA scheme.