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regular-article-logo Saturday, 22 June 2024

Mamata Banerjee gets 3 lakh complaints on PMAY 'lapses'

Majority of complaints came after state finalised names of 11.38 lakh beneficiaries under scheme in January

Pranesh Sarkar Calcutta Published 21.04.23, 05:20 AM
Villagers demand homes under the PM Awas Yojana in North 24-Parganas

Villagers demand homes under the PM Awas Yojana in North 24-Parganas File picture

The chief minister's grievance redress cell has received more than 3 lakh complaints over dwelling unit allotment irregularities under the PM Awas Yojana (rural) soon after the state finalised the names of over 11 lakh beneficiaries under the scheme.

The complaints have come after the state government finalised the names of over 11 lakh beneficiaries under the PMAY following a four-stage verification.

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Although a centrally funded scheme, the state makes the beneficiary list.

"A total of 3,24,589 complaints were lodged over the rural housing scheme till April 7. The majority of the complaints came after the state finalised the names of 11.38 lakh beneficiaries under the scheme in January," said a senior official.

According to a document prepared by the panchayat department, most complaints have come from South 24-Parganas (71,436), followed by Murshidabad (34,363) and Birbhum (19,282).

Senior state government officials said two types of complaints reached the chief minister's grievance redress cell during this period.

Many alleged that though they fulfilled the eligibility criteria, they were not allotted dwelling units under the scheme.

Another group pointed out they did not get allotment but some ineligible persons were named in the beneficiary list.

A senior bureaucrat said demand for houses from new beneficiaries was normal as families often split.

“This is nothing unusual. But when complaints come up that ineligible persons still figure in the beneficiary list despite four stages of verification, it is a cause for concern.... It clearly suggests the list that was finalised was not flawless," said a bureaucrat.

The chief minister’s grievance redress cell has forwarded the complaints to the districts concerned.

"But the problem is, there is very little chance to redress the complaints as the state can't include or exclude names without mandatory measures, including getting proposals passed through gram sabha meetings. Now, there is little time left to call gram sabha meetings to rectify lists ahead of rural polls. This is why more than 50 per cent of complaints could not be resolved as yet," said a bureaucrat.

The issue may cause a headache for the ruling establishment ahead of panchayat polls.

"Allegations of irregularities in the distribution of rural housing units were a regular feature in Bengal. The erstwhile ruling Left Front faced people’s wrath over it. This time, the state government tried to make an error-free beneficiary list. But the number of complaints clearly suggests the problem persists,” said a senior official.

The BJP has also repeatedly said that the list finalised by the state government is not error-free.

"The Centre has stopped the release of funds to Bengal under the scheme, citing the list is not flawless," said a source in the government.

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