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regular-article-logo Saturday, 13 July 2024

‘House-warming’ to push East Midnapore project

Monday was the first day of the drive reach out to the 1.76 lakh houses completed so far

Angshuman Phadikar Tamluk(EastMidnapore) Published 23.11.21, 03:58 AM
District officials visit new homes under the house-warming drive at Mahisadal in East Midnapore district on Monday.

District officials visit new homes under the house-warming drive at Mahisadal in East Midnapore district on Monday. Telegraph photo.

Over 6,000 government officials and employees of East Midnapore, from the district magistrate to a gram panchayat staffer, on Monday visited 88,000 houses completed under the state government housing scheme in the district as part of its “Griha Prabesh (house-warming)” drive launched in August to push the construction of thousands of homes pending for three financial years.

Senior state government officials said it was very uncommon for the entire civil administrative apparatus of the civil administration of a district to focus on a specific government project.

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All house owners across 223 gram panchayats of the district received a “letter of greetings” from chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

“East Midnapore district is the fourth-highest beneficiary among districts under the Bangla Awas Yojana (state government’s rural housing project). Unfortunately many beneficiaries here had not utilised the money (given to them by the government to build homes) properly. This was really unprecedented that over 6,000 officials were engaged to visit the houses (that were ready),” said an official.

Sources said East Midnapore sanctioned around 2.79 lakh houses under Bangla Awas Yojana in the past six financial years since 2016-17 but the rate of completion of the homes was poor and the percentage of cumulative completion of houses only 68 per cent.

After a survey in August, the district administration gave an ultimatum to all panchayats to complete the houses by November 22 and said officials would reach out to all complete houses in a two-day drive to celebrate Griha Prabesh.

Monday was the first day of the drive reach out to the 1.76 lakh houses completed so far.

“Many people were constructing their houses slowly for unknown reasons and for this reason our district was lagging behind others. In a bid to boost the progress of completion of the houses, we announced that officials would reach out to the houses completed within our deadline,” said Purnendu Maji, the district magistrate.

“The drive just worked like magic and people reacted very well,” he added.

Under the project, a beneficiary gets Rs 1.20 lakh in three instalments — Rs 65,000 in the first instalment and the rest Rs 55,000 in two equal two instalments. Sources said many beneficiaries did not construct their houses after receiving the first instalment and did not apply for next two instalments. This became a challenge for the district administration that led them to find out the defaulters and take stern action.

“Those who took the money but did not start work on houses were asked to return the money to the government. Based on specific complaints, four persons, who neither built houses, nor returned the money, were arrested recently,” said an official.

On Monday, officials, including the district magistrate, formed teams and reached out to 88,000 houses.

They cut the ribbon of new houses and gave letters of greetings from the chief minister.

On Tuesday, they will visit the rest 88,000 of the completed homes.

“We did three things at a time through our drive. First, we encouraged other beneficiaries who received funds for the housing scheme. Second, we requested all to take a second dose of the Covid vaccine. Third, we made a survey of families who have not been enlisted under other government schemes even if they are eligible for them,” said Maji.

Arati Malakar, a beneficiary from Mahishadal in East Midnapore, was overwhelmed when a team led by Maji visited her house.

“I had no land and the government allotted funds for lease land. I am really happy that so many officials came to my home,” said Malakar.

Mahisadal MLA Tilok Chakraborty said: “It was a nice and effective initiative as the tendency of the people not to complete houses was increasing in our area.”

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