BENGALURU: It has been six years since a scheme to provide one lakh houses to the urban poor was announced. But till now, not a single house has been allotted. Four chief ministers and four housing ministers have been in power since 2016, but the wait for the urban poor continues.
While political leaders blame the official machinery, officials in turn point fingers at technical issues, including land availability, for the delay. Now, at last, around 1,000 will be allotted in June-end this year.
The scheme was announced by the Siddaramaiah government in 2016. Since then, four chief ministers, including the incumbent Basavaraj Bommai, and four housing ministers -- M Krishnappa, UT Khader, MTB Nagaraj and the incumbent V Somanna -- have not been able to see the project through.
While the Siddaramaiah government started with ground-plus three floors, it was later changed to ground-plus 14 floors as land is not easily available at most urban centres. In 2018, the state government called for tenders to construct one lakh houses.
Structure of 9,000 houses complete: Official
The Rajiv Gandhi Housing Corporation Ltd cleared encroachments in some patches, but most properties were not suitable to construct high-rise buildings. In May last year, Somanna, who was also the housing minister during the BS Yediyurappa government, announced that the first batch of 6,000 houses will be handed over on August 15. But nothing happened.
A Housing Department official told TNIE the state government has given the approval to construct 52,735 houses of the one lakh targeted. “Of these, the structure of 9,000 houses is complete. But they need finishing works, like flooring, painting and plumbing. Another 14,000 houses are in roofing and walling stages and it will take time to complete them. The remaining are at the foundation level,” he added.
The official also said that so far, over 42,000 people have applied. “Due to some technical reasons, we had stopped selection of plots by applicants. We hope to resume it by May 9, and if everything goes well, we are planning to allot 1,000 houses by June-end this year’’ he added.
Other sources in the Housing Department said files related to these houses are pending with the Chief Secretary P Ravikumar for a long time. But Ravikumar said the files are not with him.