TUMAKURU: An elderly couple, waiting for the allotment of government funds for building a house for over a year, has been forced to live in their neighbour’s toilet.
Lakshminarasamma and Obalappa, who are landless farmhands, were granted an Indira House by the gram panchayat at Kadapalakere village in Pavagada taluk one-and-a-half-years back. They have so far received only `1 from the government for constructing the house. Panchayat Development Officer Kishore Naik says that the requisite amount could not be disbursed due to a “technical problem,” and that the issue will be addressed soon.
The couple, belonging to the backward Kadugolla community, falls in the Below Poverty Line income group. Thrilled with the prospect of constructing a new home under the Ambedkar Awas Yojana, they demolished their dilapidated house and even laid the foundation for the one bedroom-and-kitchen (BHK) unit.
Their son Subbaraya, who sells buttermilk at KR Market in Bengaluru, contributed some money to help his parents lay the foundation of the building. They also raised some hand loans, and finished the foundation work at an estimated cost of Rs 45,000 with the hope that the amount would soon be released by the government, Naveen, a relative, said.
However, only Rs 1 has reached them so far. PDO Kishore Naik admitted that except the Rs 1, which was released three months ago, no amount has been given to them so far.“The house was granted under the Ambedkar Awas Yojna and there was a technical problem. Now we have reported it to the Rajiv Gandhi Rural Housing Corporation Limited (RGRHCL),” he said.
The housing scheme involves payment of `1.60 lakh for building the house, which is released in a phased manner, starting with Rs 45,000 that is given for laying the foundation during the first phase. The subsequent instalments are released after GPS images are submitted to the authorities to show the extent of work that has been completed.
The couple is now living in a toilet in a neighbour’s house that was constructed under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. They place a wooden slab on the commode to sleep. But now, the neighbours, the Narasamma family, has started asking them to vacate that as well, compounding their crisis-ridden situation.
The money lenders have been after us for the repayment of the loans, Lakshminarasamma told TNIE. “Recently our second son died and his widow wife returned to her parents. We are even thinking of migrating to Bengaluru to live with our elder son but even that can happen only after we clear the dues. We have been running from pillar to post to get some respite.”
The Taluk Panchayat Executive Officer (EO), Narasimhamurthy, said that the PDO had reported the issue to the RGRHCL, along with the GPS image of the foundation laid, and that the funds would be released shortly.