Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana Centre dissatisfied with progress, defers Punjab’s request for funds

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana  Centre dissatisfied with progress, defers Punjab’s request for funds

The committee headed by secretary, housing and urban affairs, Durga Shanker Mishra termed the progress of construction of houses ‘not satisfactory’. The state government may resubmit the proposal once 95% of the sanctioned houses are grounded and 75% are completed, it said

The Centre has expressed dissatisfaction with the pace of work of the Punjab government in implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) in urban areas of the state.

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana

The Union ministry of housing and urban affairs expressed its concern over the slow progress of construction and completion of houses under the flagship scheme at a meeting with senior officials of the Punjab government last month. The central sanctioning and monitoring committee (CSMC) for the PMAY (Urban) also deferred the proposal submitted by the state government for approval of 92 new beneficiary-led individual house construction (BLC) and nine BLC enhancement projects worth ₹141 crore.

The local government department had proposed 7,942 new houses for beneficiaries from the economically weaker sections (EWS) across the state with financial support under the scheme, seeking ₹121 crore from the Centre for these projects. As per the proposal, the state’s share was ₹19.85 crore. The committee headed by secretary, housing and urban affairs, Durga Shanker Mishra termed the progress of construction of houses ‘not satisfactory’. “The state government may resubmit the proposal once 95% of the sanctioned houses are grounded and 75% are completed,” it said, deferring the state’s request for new projects.

The high-level meeting was attended by Punjab’s principal secretary, local government, Ajoy Kumar Sinha and other officials of the department. The ministry told the states that 2021-22 is the most critical year in terms of implementation. Of the 76,230 houses sanctioned to the state government under the beneficiary-led component so far, 35,434, or say 46%, have been grounded and the number of completed houses is just 8,368, according to available information.

Sunil Verma, additional project director, Punjab State Urban Livelihood Mission, said the new projects were not approved because the central government had a parameter for grounding and completion of houses under the sanctioned projects. “As and when the criterion is met, they will sanction these new projects awaiting approval. This is their way of building pressure on the state government,” he said.

Another official said the department had received the state share recently and the execution of works would gather pace. Under the BLC component, the cost of a two-room house is ₹3.5 lakh. Of this, the central government gives ₹1.5 lakh and the state government contributes ₹25,000 whereas the beneficiary has to shell out the balance 50%.

In 2019, the central ministry had urged the state government to give a push to construction of houses for the EWS families under the programme vis-à-vis the housing demand. Against the projected demand of 3.48 lakh houses in cities across the state, the authorities had sanctioned about 20% houses till then. A department official had said that efforts were being made create awareness and more beneficiaries but not many were forthcoming.

The state government had arrived at the projected demand houses after a survey by the urban local bodies department in 164 towns.

The centrally sponsored PMAY was launched in June 2015 for ensuring housing for all in urban areas by 2022 by way of BLC, credit-linked subsidy scheme, affordable housing in partnership and ‘in-situ’ slum redevelopment. Overall, 1.09 crore houses have been sanctioned so far under the programme. Of these, 70 lakh have been grounded, including 41 lakh that have been completed and handed over to beneficiaries.

Source: https://www.hindustantimes.com

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