Authorities turn a deaf-ear to the repeated demands of the slum-dwellers.
Bangalore, January 23, 2018: Only 9,826 beneficiaries have been registered out of the targeted 93, 065 people under the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana in Karnataka. Out of 3.4 lakh households which are to be constructed by 2022, only one thousand have been completed under the government’s housing schemes.
Over 2.6 lakh houses are to be sanctioned by 2022.
The government had announced 7 lakh houses to be constructed under the government’s flagship scheme on July 2017, confirmed Shankar Pujari, Assistant Director of Slum Development Board.
In Ragigudda In Jayanagar, the slum-dwellers claim that houses haven’t been granted to them yet.
“We settled here in 1982. They have been saying that they would build houses for us, but they still have not. We paid the demand draft and yet we did not get the house despite having important documents like Aadhar and Pan Card,” says R.Anasuya, a house-help who lives in a hovel in the slums of Ragigudda.
Some of them even accused the authorities of having illegally rented out the houses built for them. “Somebody else has been living in the house which was built for us. When we asked Slum Development Board officials, they did not respond. There was a notice that the list of the people who have been allotted houses has been published, but when we asked for the list, the officials did not show it to us. They are renting out the houses to other parties!” claimed Philomena Marie, a tailor by profession..
Those who have gotten a house complain that the size or dimensions of the houses were not as promised by the government. “There is a difference of 5 or 6 feet in length and breadth,” she said.
The state through institutions such as the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) is earmarking 25 per cent of the area in its housing projects for the urban poor. There are 75, 402 which have been sanctioned under the schemes so far, and the pace at which the work is progressing is said to be inadequate. “Though there are now 7.46 lakh slum households in Karnataka, the Karnataka Slum Development Board is building only about 7,000 houses per year for them which means that it will take more than a 100 years to build the 7 lakh houses required,” said Katyayini Chamaraj, The Executive Trustee of Citizen Voluntary Initiative for the City (CIVIC) Bangalore.
The slum-dwellers are demanding that they should be provided the resources to build their own houses. “All we ask is for the government to give us loans and we will build the houses ourselves. That would be better,” Ms. Rose Mary said.
“The government’s current strategies are obviously inadequate to meet the need of the people. There has to be a drastic re-jig in the implementation of the schemes. The best option is to create a land bank for housing for the urban poor. They can be allotted title deeds to the land and provided subsidies and loans at low interest so that they can build their houses themselves. They can each build their own house within an year!” Ms.Chamaraj said.