14 years on, crushed dreams, cracked houses

For 14 long years, over 1,400 applicants under an affordable housing scheme, have hung on to hope that one day, a house will finally be theirs.

Published: 06th June 2020 06:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th June 2020 06:32 AM   |  A+A-

A watchman sits outside a vacant flat at Doddamannina Gudde in Ramanagara district on Friday | Meghana Sastry

Express News Service

DODDAMANNINA GUDDE (RAMANAGARA): For 14 long years, over 1,400 applicants under an affordable housing scheme, have hung on to hope that one day, a house will finally be theirs. But just like their dreams, the houses too now seem to be crumbling.

In 2006, the then Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy had launched a project to construct affordable houses for the poor in his Assembly constituency Ramanagara. As many as 240 flats were constructed and 1,430 people, who were identified as beneficiaries, even paid up the initial amount of Rs 5,100. The cost of each unit was fixed at Rs 1.35 lakh. While SC and ST beneficiaries were required to pay Rs 13,500, the General category allottees had to pay Rs 15,000. 

The eight-acre project site at Doddamannina Gudde in Ramanagara, is about 1 km from the Bengaluru-Mysuru highway, close to Janapada Loka, where 240 one-BHK flats have been constructed. There are 30 blocks with each having eight houses (ground plus two floors). The 20x20 sq ft flats/houses have a living room, bedroom, kitchen and toilet-cum-bathroom. The connecting road too is well-asphalted and has streetlights. 

The vacant houses now have broken windows, doors and commodes, with cracks in the walls, peeling roofs, electric wires cut and are filled with dust. The sumps for storing water do not have lids as they were stolen by miscreants. Locals also say that the project site has become a den for anti-social activities. 

Allottees to be picked through lottery

“Many anti-social activities take place here now. It’s scary to come here, specially during night. Many people come here to drink and heaps of bottles can be seen inside the rooms,’’ Manjunath, who hails from a nearby village, told TNIE. “When Kumaraswamy was CM, the then government directed the Revenue Department to construct the houses, which, in turn, entrusted the work to the Karnataka Slum Development Board.

The Board constructed the houses and that’s when the Forest Department came up and said the land belongs to them. Since then, any further construction has been halted. Only a few months ago, the Revenue Department decided to provide alternate land nearby to the Forest Department”, said a official source. Slum Development Board officials said that since there are more than 1,400 applicants and only 240 houses, the final allottees will be picked through lottery.

This has to be done under the chairmanship of local MLA Anitha Kumaraswamy. When asked if the initial deposit will be returned to those who are not picked in the lottery, official sources said that houses are being constructed under other schemes and those left out will be allotted houses elsewhere.

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