Coimbatore Corporation, it appears, is in a fix on how to go about identifying the right beneficiaries under the ‘Basic Services for Urban Poor’ (BSUP) scheme. For, it is at least 1,000 short of the target.
The Government of India launched the scheme as part of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) project to improve housing facilities for the urban poor. One component of the scheme was to relocate the poor living on encroached lands and along water bodies. Towards this end, the Corporation is constructing close to 9,000 houses in various parts of the city. To those who own lands and have patta (title deed), the Government had said that it would pay Rs. 1.44 lakh to each beneficiary and the latter should chip in with a minimum of Rs. 16,000 so that they were able to convert their thatched roof houses to concrete ones. Those living in tile-roofed houses were not eligible and so were those who were above the poverty line. Under the project, the Coimbatore Corporation was asked to identify 2,707 beneficiaries under Phase I of the scheme. The Corporation identified the beneficiaries, and after ensuring that they were eligible applicants, disbursed the money.
Sources said that 2,119 of the 2,707 persons chosen had constructed the houses. And the rest were in the process of completing it.
Under Phase II of the scheme, the Corporation was supposed to help 9,923 beneficiaries go in for concrete houses. As on date, only 4,105 residents had constructed their houses. Of the remaining 5,818 residents, a little more than 4,000 beneficiaries were constructing their houses and some were at various stages of construction.
The sources said that the Corporation, as per the project guidelines, did not disburse the Rs. 1.44 lakh at one go. It would give away the cheques in four instalments depending on the progress the beneficiaries had made. The Corporation had to identify nearly 1,500 eligible persons to achieve the target but the task was proving to be difficult, the sources said and added the Corporation had advertised about the scheme, conducted camps and done everything possible. It recently conducted a camp and had received a few hundred applications. Of those, around 600 were likely to be eligible.
They said that the reason for the urban poor not lapping up the project was because they would have to construct a minimum of 270 sq.ft, which was impossible with the money the Government offered. The rate was fixed way back in 2007 when the project was launched and since then the cost of materials had escalated. And there was no way the Corporation could revise the amount.