G. Nagaraja

‘They are unfit for living due to substandard construction’

Some 1750 houses constructed in YSR Colony

Only two pots of water distributed to each household

PONANGI (West Godavari district): The YSR Colony, built under the Rajiv Gruha Kalpa, which is billed as dream come true for the urban poor and named after Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy, hardly cheers its inhabitants, thanks to the poor construction standards. Dr Reddy laid a foundation stone for the project during his initial days as the Chief Minister amid much fanfare for construction of 1,750 houses and it got ready for occupation by the beneficiaries some four months ago. Yet, most of the owners seem reluctant to occupy their houses which they reportedly consider unfit for living. According to information, hardly 500 houses were occupied so for even as more than 1, 200 houses wear a deserted picture for want of takers. The banners hung by the Revenue authorities with a warning that the beneficiaries, who failed to occupy their houses within the stipulated period of one week will forego their ownership rights, greet the visitors at all the vantage points.

“Water leaks from the roof of my house even for a drizzle,” complains Modi Venkalakshmi. She cooks food in the verandah by deserting her kitchen room due to the problem of leakage. She needs to have more than Rs 60,000 for the renovation works. “The government gave me a house worth Rs 39,000. Where can I get a huge sum of Rs 60,000, double the cost of my house,” she asks. Inquiries revealed that the contractor entrusted with the project had built the houses with slab thickness of 2.5cm, making it vulnerable to leakages. Besides, no plastering was done to the slab and walls. The houses do not have compound walls, bathrooms and latrines either. The colony turns into a huge cesspool during rainy season for want of drainage channels, forcing the inhabitants to move over to safer places. The residents have been put to hardship due to lack of potable drinking water and roads. Water is as precious as milk in this area. Two pots of water is distributed to each household on production of a ‘water card’, a proof of residence. Groundwater available in the area is not fit for drinking. The neighbouring Venkatapuram gram panchayat supplies four tankers of drinking water every day to the colony.