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Central teams visit Bengal villages for spot verfication

People owning concrete houses and four-wheelers and employed by government are ineligible to apply for houses under the PMAY

Soumya De Sarkar, Anshuman Phadikar Tamluk(EastMidnapore), Malda Published 07.01.23, 03:12 AM
The three-member team from the Union rural development ministry at Chori Anantapur in Kaliachak 3 block of Malda district on Friday.

The three-member team from the Union rural development ministry at Chori Anantapur in Kaliachak 3 block of Malda district on Friday. Soumya De Sarkar

Two teams of officials sent by the Union rural development ministry to Bengal visited several villages in two districts on Friday to check whether the names of eligible persons were included in the beneficiary list of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY).

In Malda, one of the teams found the names of a number of persons who own concrete houses on the PMAY beneficiary list. Members of the other team, which reached East Midnapore district, abandoned their official vehicles and moved to villages in other cars to gather details and also to avoid demonstrations.


In Malda, the team comprising Shaktikant Singh, a deputy secretary in the ministry, Chahat Singh, an assistant commissioner, and Gaurav Ahuja, an assistant section officer, went to the Kaliachak 3 block. They were accompanied by a group of officials of the district administration.

The team visited Chori-Anantapur village, Kamarpara and a few other localities of the block, which is around 35km from Malda. The officials spoke to some beneficiaries whose names are on the PMAY list and came across the concrete house of Avijit Pandey, a civic volunteer at Kamarpara.

“The team members were surprised to know that he, too, has been listed as a beneficiary. Soon, they found that Kulesh Mondal, a railway employee who is based in Chori-Anantapur, also has his name on the list,” said a source.

In due course, two others, one of whom owns a four-wheeler while the other owns a house which is fitted with CCTV cameras, were identified as the PMAY beneficiaries.

“Such revelations left the team members wondering whether a verification survey carried out by the state government was proper. The team spoke to the district administrative officials a number of times on the issue,” the source added.

People owning concrete houses and four-wheelers and employed by the government are ineligible to apply for houses under the PMAY.

“Altogether, the team members visited 20-odd houses in three blocks. At least five to seven unsuitable cases caught their notice. But we made it clear to them that the names of all those unsuitable beneficiaries were dropped off the list last month when the survey was conducted,” said a senior administrative official who was with the team.

In East Midnapore, the three-member team led by Anil Kumar Singh, an under-secretary of the rural development ministry, decided to reach the villages on their own. According to sources, the team had stayed at a government accommodation in Digha on Thursday night.

Around 10am on Friday, a convoy of three cars rolled out of the premises and moved along NH116B from Digha to Nandakumar. The cars were followed by police vehicles.

“However, as the cars reached Nandakumar and stopped at a traffic signal, it was found that none from the team was in the vehicles. It seems they didn’t use the official cars to avoid protests,” said a source in the administration.

On Thursday, the team had to face protests as over 100 people, including women, gathered outside the Bhagbanpur 1 block office of the district. As the team came out of the office, they had launched a protest, alleging delay in the disbursal of funds under the 100-dayswork scheme by the Centre.

The team could leave the spot after around 30 minutes. On Friday, team members took another car and visited a number of villages in Ramnagar, Nandakumar and Tamluk 2 block.

“The team had come here with information about certain areas where allegations have been levelled that the names of ineligible people have been included in the PMAY list. Accordingly, they visited those areas,” said a source.

Around 2pm, the team reached Uttar Sonamui panchayat office near Tamluk. Officials of the district administration also reached there.

The team found out that a meeting to inform people about the PMAY was in progress at the panchayat office.

After the meeting, they spoke with the villagers to know whether they are facing any problems with regard to the housing scheme.

“They also made it clear that every beneficiary who builds a house under the PMAY will also have to build a toilet,” said a source.

Later in the afternoon, the team left for Calcutta.

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