While the stated aim of housing schemes under the Rajiv Gruhakalpa (RGK) and JNNURM is to provide affordable housing to the urban poor, the beneficiaries of these schemes do not seem very keen on occupying the houses.
Several houses handed over under these schemes in Ranga Reddy district have remained unoccupied over the years. The reasons range from disinterest of the beneficiaries to shift to houses in remote places to alleged political allotments.
As of now, there are 12 projects under the Rajiv Gruhakalpa and 24 under the JNNURM scheme, and they have reached the stage of handing over the houses.
Of the 22,147 houses handed over to beneficiaries under the Rajiv Gruhakalpa scheme, only 16,037 have been occupied so far. Colonies with lower rate of occupancy include Sooraram in Quthbullahpur, Kuntloor in Hayatnagar, Ahmedguda in Keesara and Kowkur in Malkajgiri.
Under the JNNURM housing scheme, a total of 11,966 houses have been handed over to beneficiaries, but those occupied are just 7,038. Colonies that have recorded low occupancy rate include Abdullahpurmet, Bowrampet in Quthbullahpur, Bahadurpally, two colonies in Nizampet, Gandhamguda and Peeram cheruvu in Rajendranagar, Puppalguda, Rampally in Keesara and three projects in Shamshabad.
The Ranga Reddy district officials attribute the low occupancy rate to problems such as distance from the city and incomplete infrastructure. “The problem with Kuntloor is its distance from the city. In the case of Kowkur colony, a court case has stalled pipeline laying works. The Ahmedguda colony in Keesara remains unoccupied thanks to its proximity to the dumping yard,” says J. Srinivas Reddy, District Project Officer, Rajiv Gruhakalpa.
The lack of piped water supply is keeping away many beneficiaries from the housing colonies constructed under the JNNURM scheme, he adds. Pipeline laying works are not yet complete for the bigger colonies at Abdullahpurmet, Bowrampet, and Nizampet. Though bore-wells were dug up by the GHMC to address water needs, all of them have gone dry now.
“We have issued three notices to the beneficiaries who have not occupied the flats handed over. If they do not respond, we shall cancel the allotment and invite the next in line,” says Mr. Reddy.
However, allegations are rife that the allotments have been made under political pressure for those who already have houses elsewhere.
“Many houses are vacant here, because the owners are waiting for good price for the houses. They do not need them, yet got them by tweaking their connections. Had they been poor, they would have shifted immediately, as any house is better than no house,” alleges a resident of Abdullahpurmet.
There are 12 projects under the Rajiv Gruhakalpa and 24 under the JNNURM scheme, and they have reached the stage of handing over the houses