Karnataka

Shelter for all by December 2022, says Housing Minister

The Housing Department has set a target of constructing six lakh rural houses in the next three years.

The Housing Department has set a target of constructing six lakh rural houses in the next three years.  

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46,000 houses to be built for urban poor in Bengaluru by year-end

In a decision that will give renewed impetus to housing projects in the State, the Housing Department has set itself a target of constructing six lakh rural homes under various schemes in the next three years and completing construction of 46,000 houses in Bengaluru for the urban poor by December this year. Overall, the department is aiming at “shelter for all” by December 2022.

The 46,000 houses are part of the ambitious project of building one lakh houses for Bengaluru’s urban poor that was announced during former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s tenure. Although the scheme was announced, not a single house has been built so far. Work on the 46,000 houses allotted in six packages to contractors will begin in the next 15 days, said Housing Minister V. Somanna.

Addressing presspersons here on Tuesday, he said he had convened a meeting of city MLAs to discuss the project on January 20. “We have also decided to increase the annual income eligibility for beneficiaries in this scheme from the existing ₹87,600 to ₹3 lakh,” he said.

While the initial project design had been prepared to construct high-rise buildings (ground plus 14 floors) to accommodate the one lakh houses, it has now been decided to have high-rise buildings only for the 46,000 houses. “The remaining will be ground plus three floors,” he said.

“As of now, work on 4.4 lakh houses that were approved under various schemes is under progress at various stages. We may require nearly ₹3,500 crore to complete the construction of these houses and had requested the Chief Minister for funds. Recently, the Chief Minister directed the Finance Department to release the amount, which will be done in phases,” he said.

“For the rural houses, along with Aadhar card, BPL cards will also be mandatory. This is to ensure that those below the poverty line get priority. Otherwise, the demand for houses will remain the same for the next 50 years. Overall, we are aiming at ‘shelter for all’ by December 2022,” he said.

Vigilance squad, app

To bring in transparency and accountability in the implementation of various housing projects and check irregularities, the department has developed a ‘Vasati Vigil’ mobile application. The app will help nodal officers monitor progress real time. Top officials, who will inspect ongoing projects, will record the progress on the mobile app and funds will be released only when the progress report is cleared at all levels,” he said.

Also, in the wake of large-scale irregularities in housing targets with cowsheds and goat sheds being counted as dwelling units, the department has set up a vigilance squad on the lines of similar teams functioning in KSRTC and BESCOM, he added.

IEC scam

Mr. Somanna has ordered a probe into the grant of funds to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who were engaged by the Housing Department for taking up Information, Education and Communication (IEC) activities.

“After I took over, I learnt that some NGOs are given annual grants to take up IEC activities for the department. But, when I probed further, I realised that there was no record of any IEC activities done by them. While ₹2 crore was allocated in 2018-19, ₹1.5 crore was allocated in 2019-20 to a few organisations, including Spandana Samsthe. I have put on hold grant of funds for this financial year and have ordered a probe into funds given in the last 10 years,” he added.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 10:08:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/shelter-for-all-by-december-2022-says-housing-minister/article30569808.ece

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