The housing schemes for the poor in the State are in disarray because of policy reversals and inadequate governmental assistance.
But the Finance Minister has announced a new scheme in the State Budget for 2013-14, again with the Kerala State Housing Board as the nodal agency, without solving the problems in the present schemes.
The local bodies were forced to run down the total housing scheme as the government failed to honour its commitment to give additional financial assistance. The government had earlier raised the housing subsidy for beneficiaries belonging to the general category and the Scheduled Castes from Rs.75,000 to Rs.1 lakh and those of the Scheduled Tribes from Rs.1 lakh to Rs.2.5 lakh. Thus, the financial burden on the local bodies went up to Rs.427 crore a year, though the Plan allocation was Rs. 375 crore. Official sources told The Hindu here that since the government did not provide the additional assistance, the local bodies had been forced to stop implementing the scheme.
The present government abruptly wound up the EMS Housing Scheme launched by the previous government and announced the Saphalayam scheme. But fewer than 1,000 houses have been completed under it, sources said.
The previous government had sanctioned 2,07,928 houses, and work on one lakh houses has been completed.
The Housing Board had informed the government of its inability to secure loans for the Saphalyam scheme. Last Thursday, the government issued an order directing the local bodies to approach the cooperative banks again to get loans before March 31. The proposition seems unworkable.