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Team Sonowal must build 1.77 lakh houses Congress left half-done



GUWAHATI, Feb 5: As part of its housing scheme for the poor, the Centre has sanctioned 2.19 lakh houses under the Prime Minister’s Awas Yoja (PMAY-Gramin) in the current fiscal for selected beneficiaries in Assam. However, the present BJP-led government in the State has a problem in its hands. It has to complete the construction of 1.77 lakh houses sanctioned when the scheme was being implemented as Indira Awas Yoja (IAY) during the previous Congress regime in the State.

Construction of these 1.77 lakh houses has been pending since the fincial year 2012-13. The delay can be directly attributed to rampant commission raj, negligence and lack of monitoring by a section of officials of the Panchayat and Rural Development department of the previous Tarun Gogoi-led government.

If construction of these half-done houses is not completed by the present State government, the Centre may not sanction more houses under the PMAY (Gramin) in the coming years. 

Wary of this possibility, the Sonowal government has now fixed a deadline of March this year for completing the construction of the 1.77 lakh houses pending under the IAY.

As per State government data, construction of 38,430 houses sanctioned in the 2012-13 fiscal, has only been completed in the current fiscal. Likewise, construction of 29,078 houses sanctioned in the 2013-14 fiscal, has been completed in the current fiscal.

Serious allegations in the past had been raised that a section of officials of Panchayat and Rural Development department as well as elected panchayat members were involved in commission raj while executing construction of houses sanctioned under this flagship scheme of the Central government.

On January 19 last, Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal launched the PMAY (Gramin), earlier known as IAY, in the State and distributed sanction letters among the selected beneficiaries. Construction of the 2.19 lakh houses sanctioned under PMAY (Gramin) must also be completed by May this year, as per the State government’s directive.

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Ankur Kalita