By Accommodation Times News Service
Over two years after the government handed over the keys of nearly 8,000 low-cost houses developed under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) housing scheme to the beneficiaries, a staggering 40% of the houses are still lying unoccupied.
This, even as nearly 20% of the houses have been put on rent or sold off by the beneficiaries, while the remaining 40% are occupied by persons that the government officials are yet to identify. These are the startling findings of a recent sample survey carried out by the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) department of urban community development (UCD) on the 7,964 houses handed over to beneficiaries.
The GVMC is planning to take up a comprehensive survey soon to identify the occupants of the remaining 40% houses to find out if they are genuine or bogus beneficiaries. “The sample survey revealed that most of the houses were not occupied by the people who were handed over the keys. We have decided to conduct a comprehensive survey by visiting the houses during morning hours to check the occupants and if they are genuine beneficiaries. We will also serve legal notices to the bogus occupants on the spot itself. However, all this will take two to three months,” UCD project director, MNA Patrudu
The cost of each housing unit ranges from Rs 1.65lakh to Rs 1.81lakh, depending on the size of the house. The beneficiaries of JNNURM low-cost housing project are selected based on three criteria: urban poor, rehabilitation and relocation. However, it was learnt that the reason for most beneficiaries shying away from occupying the houses was the lack of basic infrastructure like water, power, drainage, streetlights and even recreation facilities.
Admitting that the civic body was flooded with complaints from JNNURM housing beneficiaries on the lack of basic amenities at the weekly grievance cell, GVMC commissioner MV Satyanarayana claimed that they had provided all basic amenities such as power, tap water, streetlights to the allotted houses at the time of handing over the keys to beneficiaries but many of these were damaged due to non-occupation of houses. “Nearly items like streetlights, water taps and the like worth Rs 10lakh were stolen from housing sites that are not yet occupied. We plan to restore the facilities at all allotted houses within two months,” he said