BHUBANESWAR: The Centre sanctioned nearly one lakh houses under Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) for Forest Rights Act (FRA) beneficiaries.
“I am glad to inform you that 99,986 IAY houses have been sanctioned for FRA beneficiaries in 28 districts,” Union Minister of Rural Development Jairam Ramesh said in a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
The additional Central assistance was in response to the Chief Minister’s request for one lakh houses for tribal people who have become rightful owners of forest land under the Forest Rights Act.
The Ministry of Rural Development sanctioned ` 362.52 crore additional assistance towards Central share and released ` 181.12 crore as first instalment.
In a separate communique to Panchayati Raj Secretary PK Jena, the Ministry has asked him to ensure that the Government land is allotted to the beneficiaries selected for the housing assistance and they belong to the permanent BPL waiting list.
The State Government has been asked to make budgetary provision of its share towards matching grant.
Although the State Government has settled a record number of claims filed by tribals and other traditional forest- dwellers over forest land and distributed land titles (record of rights) to over 2.95 lakh applicants under the Forest Rights Act, 2006 only 17,263 beneficiaries are covered under IAY.
The impressive performance of the State also came to the notice of the Centre when the Union Cabinet Secretary reviewed the progress of settlement of forest land in favour of the tribals and other traditional forest dwellers through video conferencing in December last year.
Impressed by the performance of the State, the Union Minister sanctioned additional Central assistance under IAY for nearly one lakh FRA beneficiaries, official sources said.
The Centre had sanctioned 1.42 lakh houses under IAY for the State for 2012-13.
The additional Central assistance will help the State Government cover more poor people, especially tribals, under the housing scheme, Panchayati Raj Secretary PK Jena said.
The State Government has intensified the distribution of pattas among the landless tribals in the 30 tribal-dominated blocks covered under the World Bank-assisted Orissa Tribal Empowerment and Livelihood Programme.