VMC says no to construction of 10,000 houses

The fate of 10,000 houses sanctioned under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) programme is in limbo with Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) saying a firm ‘no’ to their construction.

The Corporation told the higher ups in the State Capital that the housing had become burden to it. As a result, the VMC officials and city MLAs are at loggerheads over construction of the 10,000 houses.

The VMC is already shouldering the burden of cost escalation of Rs. 57 crore. The Corporation is yet to collect the beneficiary contribution of Rs. 67 crore, and requires another Rs.100 crore to complete 18,000 houses, which are in different stages of construction.

In this backdrop, to construct the remaining 10,000 houses will be an additional burden on, and cripple the finances of the Corporation. As an alternative, the Housing Corporation could be asked to take up task, say Corporation officials.

The city MLAs have, on the other hand, opposed the stance of the municipal corporation. The MLAs fear that the Corporation’s reluctance will invite widespread criticism, more particularly from political circles.

With the general elections scheduled in a year, the MLAs are afraid that putting the housing scheme on backburner will be a fiasco, and insist that all 28,000 houses should be constructed at any cost. However, no logical conclusion could be arrived at, and Municipal Administration Minister Mahidhar Reddy suggested exploring the possibility of entrusting the job to the Housing Corporation.

The Union Government, in all, sanctioned 21,752 houses for Vijayawada under Basic Services for Urban Poor (BSUP), a sub-mission of JNNURM. Of these, 14,968 houses were taken up in phase-I and 6,784 in phase-II. The State government pegged the unit cost of the houses taken up in phase-I at Rs.1.32 lakh and those of phase-II at Rs.1.40 lakh.

The beneficiaries will have to pay only Rs. 10,000 as contribution for allotment of a dwelling unit, and also agree to repay a bank loan of Rs. 30,000.

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