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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 25 June 2024

Bengal govt seeks to build 11.36 lakh rural houses in case of Centre's bar on PMAY funds

Although it is a huge amount for the cash-strapped state government, it will leave no stone unturned to give dwelling units to the beneficiaries ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, a bureaucrat said

Pranesh Sarkar Calcutta Published 25.07.23, 08:39 AM
Mamata Banerjee.

Mamata Banerjee. File picture

The Mamata Banerjee government is considering a plan to set up 11.36 lakh rural housing units ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls after considering that the Centre might not release funds under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) before the general election.

"Nabanna has taken a decision that in case the Centre does not release funds under the PMAY, the state government will fund the 11.36 lakh dwelling units already approved under the scheme. A total of Rs 10,000 crore will be required to set up the units. Although it is a huge amount for the cash-strapped state government, it will leave no stone unturned to give dwelling units to the beneficiaries ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls," said a senior bureaucrat.

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According to senior government officials, the Centre had approved 11.36 lakh dwelling units for the 2022-23 financial year. The state government had prepared the list of beneficiaries following a three-step verification to ensure that no ineligible beneficiary gets the benefit.

The list was sent to Delhi for release of funds. But the Centre did not release required funds citing that the list was not foolproof.

"The Centre had sent some teams to inquire whether the list was correct... The central teams had submitted their reports but the state was not contacted for rectifying the list. Funds were also not released. It appears that no funds will be released before the Lok Sabha polls for political reasons," said a bureaucrat.

A section of bureaucrats said the state government has realised that the issue of allotting dwelling units could be a major issue ahead of Lok Sabha polls.

The state government has received a series of demands for dwelling units through the Sorasori Mukhyomantri programme over the past 45 days since the programme was launched on June 8.

"A total of about 3 lakh people have dialled the number for various reasons. Of them, 1 lakh people have placed demands or lodged their grievances. More than 10,000 people have demanded housing units," said an official.

Now, the state is busy finding out ways to arrange such a huge fund to make the programme successful.

"There is a plan that the state will use the unused funds of all the departments to fund the housing scheme. As per this plan, the funding for the scheme could start within the next two months. The beneficiaries can get Rs 1.2 lakh in three phases," said a senior official.

Sources said that the ruling party in Bengal realised that the Narendra Modi government's decision of holding back the funds under the PMAY programme could be used as a tool to counter the BJP-led Centre ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

“People in rural areas want housing schemes. During the campaign of panchayat polls, we explained how the people of Bengal were being deprived by the BJP-led central government,” said a minister.

Recruitment

The Bengal cabinet has approved a proposal to recruit 2,500 constables to Calcutta police. The recruitment exam will be conducted by the West Bengal Police Recruitment Board. The cabinet also approved the recruitment of 440 lower division clerks. These clerks will be recruited through the West Bengal Public Service Commission.

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