Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who is all set to present his tenth budget on Friday, is expected to show largesse for housing beneficiaries who have not cleared their loans borrowed under various schemes.
According to official sources, the Housing Department had submitted a proposal to the Chief Minister during the pre-budget exercise to waive off the principal amount and interest of beneficiaries under government housing schemes, including the Ashraya scheme.
The previous BJP government had announced the Namma Mane Namma Swatthu scheme in which the interest accrued was to be waived off if beneficiaries paid the principal amount before March, 2012.
Speaking to Express, Housing Minister M H Ambareesh said the interest waiver scheme did not yield the desired results. Only `40 crore was collected against the total principal arrears of over `700 crore. Hence, it was decided to recommend waiving off the entire outstanding arrears and close the accounts.
Officials of the Housing Department said `10,000 each was borrowed by around 16 lakh beneficiaries from state-run boards and corporations, including the Karnataka Housing Board (KHB).
Sources said the department constructed more than 2.5 lakh houses against a target of three lakh houses under Ashraya, Basava, Indira Awas and Vajpayee schemes till the end of December.
Stating that the department had received fresh applications for another three lakh houses, an official said a target has been set to construct over six lakh houses in the next two years.
The department has also suggested an affordable housing policy mandating real estate developers to reserve about 25 per cent space for people of economically weaker and low income groups, the sources said.
Ambareesh expressed confidence that Congress will win more seats in the State in the Lok Sabha elections.
He said the party’s prospects are bright in the elections thanks to several pro-people initiatives undertaken by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
“If party managers wish, I am ready to tour the northern part of the State for campaigning,” he said.
He said he will not contest the elections.
“I will canvas for the party candidate in Mandya where probably the sitting MP Ramya will be renominated.” He also denied reports of any rift with Ramya.