Uncertainty clouds PMAY project implementation in city
With an estimated figure of just 10% of residents in Guwahati being in possession of myaadi patta land, there is uncertainty over the successful implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) aimed at providing houses to economically weaker sections.
The overwhelming majority of residents have eksonia land (annual land settlement) or are in illegal occupation of government land which does not fulfil the basic criterion of the flagship programme.
In Assam, 78.23% of people in urban and 21.77% in the rural areas do not own houses. The project which aims at providing housing for all by 2022 was launched in 2015 and was divided into four categories - economically weaker section, lower income group and two groups within the middle income group.
PMAY is a centrally sponsored scheme with an elaborate set of norms for the different categories of income groups. Under this scheme, a family having monthly income less than Rs 25,000 per month can avail loans up to Rs 6 lakhs from any bank at an interest subsidy of 6.5%. The loan has to be repaid within 20 years. People who earn between Rs 25,000 and Rs 50,000 per month - considered as Lower Income Group (LIG) - are entitled for a 60 sq. m. house and can avail a loan up to Rs 6 lakhs at 6.5% interest subsidy.
Urban beneficiary list of PMAY to be prepared by 15th October
The first Screening Committee Meeting of PMAY which was held on 19th September last under the chairmanship of M. Angamuthu, Deputy Commissioner, Kamrup (Metro) and attended by legislators, decided that the beneficiary list for the semi slum areas of Guwahati will be prepared by the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) in consultation with the public representatives by mid-October. Additional commissioner of GMC, D. Singh, is the Project Director in the Kamrup Metropolitan District.
Already 60,000 forms have been received by GMC and a survey is also planned to be conducted after which a list of beneficiaries would be compiled by the end of next month. As per the norms, individual households with myaadi patta ownership would be granted Rs 2 lakhs for building houses measuring 30 sq. m.
Social activist, Kailash Sarma said, “I welcome the move of the government but being a metro city there is scarcity of land among the BPL category people and the others have only eksonia land which cannot be converted into myadi patta. But other than the hilly areas, the land of people living in the plains for more than 15 years can be taken by the government as per land act and utilized for making houses by the government in order to make the project successful. Otherwise, there are slim chances of the project being successful. To make the programme a success the government should evolve a policy so that the BPL categories can derive the benefits.”
An official of GMC said that the project will be effective for the people only if the government comes out with sufficient land to construct the houses. “It is very difficult here in the city to get government land. Moreover, many parts of land also come under the railways for which we have to approach them and it takes time to get such permission. It is due to such factors that the project will take some time but we are hopeful that it will be a success,” the official added.
Slum residents not hopeful of PMAY
Slums are usually the underbelly of a city or any urban settlement. The goals of PMAY notwithstanding, some residents of slums in the city are not convinced that they would not be evicted after the scheme is implemented in their localities.
An official said, “44 slums have been surveyed till date in the city but there are more than 200 slums in all. It has to be found where houses can be constructed for them. In fact, the survey has revealed that marriages of many girls have been cancelled since they lack proper houses.”
But local representatives are hopeful that the slums would be able to avail the benefits of the programme.
One of the residents of a slum in the police reserve area said that they are hopeful of getting the houses but at the same time they have a fear that they might lose their place of living. “It happens most of the time that we have been shifted to some other place saying that we will be given new houses to live in but we do not get the benefits. This time also they said that we will get houses from the government which will be free of cost and to construct the houses we have to move to some other place for some time. We requested the government that we should get the houses on time otherwise it becomes difficult for us to live here and there,” said Rosida Khatun, while speaking to G Plus.