RAY project yet to resume as families grow impatient

The two towers under Rajiv Awas Yojana, which was subsumed into the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, were expected to house 398 landless families of Kalvathy, Thuruthy and Koncheri.

The two towers under Rajiv Awas Yojana, which was subsumed into the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, were expected to house 398 landless families of Kalvathy, Thuruthy and Koncheri.  

12-storey housing project awaits panel nod for revised estimate of ₹39 crore

Beneficiaries of the Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) in the city have been growing increasingly impatient with no progress on the 12-storey housing project.

“The revised estimate for the project is still awaiting approval from a technical committee constituted at the Central government level for housing projects,” Mayor Soumini Jain said. The massive escalation in cost from ₹18 crore to ₹39 crore had necessitated the council’s and committee’s nod, but the corporation council had failed to approve the cost escalation for months, she said.

However, officials at the corporation said that the revised estimate would also have to be ratified by a State-level committee that was due to meet later this month.

The two towers under the scheme, which was subsumed into the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana in 2015, will house 398 landless families of Kalvathy, Thuruthy and Koncheri. “It has been a seven-year-long wait and our homes are still nowhere in sight. We are still struggling to pay monthly rent,” said Arifa M. K., a beneficiary, who along with other women had protested against the delay in implementing the project at the recent corporation council meeting.

The women, some of whom have been making regular visits to the corporation office to enquire about the status of the project, have asked the Mayor if the corporation could at least provide a rent allowance while the tower is being constructed, she said.

The initial estimates for the first tower were drawn up in 2013 and had included only structural costs, officials handling the project said. An agreement was signed with the contractor in 2017 and work had begun. The contractor has already been paid ₹8 crore and bills worth ₹1.5 crore for work like pile load testing was pending to the contractor.

The corporation council had in January approved an extension of the contract which had expired in February last year, stalling the work. But without his outstanding bills being cleared and in the absence of sanctioned funds, work was unlikely to resume, officials said.

The agreement of ₹18 crore arrived at with the current contractor would only cover structural work upto the sixth floor, after which another tender would have to be invited for remaining work including plumbing and electricity, further delaying the completion of the project.

The remaining amount of ₹21 crore will be footed by Cochin Smart Mission Limited (CSML) under their slum redevelopment project. “We are awaiting State-level sanction to hand the amount over to the corporation,” CSML sources said.

Construction of the second RAY tower, which will house 199 beneficiaries, will be taken up by CSML directly at roughly the same cost as the first tower and a work order was likely to be issued by the end of the month, they said. The second tower will come up adjacent to the first at Kalvathy.

“We are apprehensive about being able to begin work on the second tower without completing the first since the beneficiaries of the two are different and that could raise problems. The council would have to take a decision on providing a rent allowance to beneficiaries,” the Mayor said.

The Opposition had never stood in the way of the project's implementation and had eventually given all approvals, only objecting to the Mayor’s decision to return the security deposit of ₹93 lakh to the contractor a few months ago without consulting the council first, LDF councillor V.P. Chandran said.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 8:35:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/ray-project-yet-to-resume-as-families-grow-impatient/article30985825.ece

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