Scam whiff in Odisha's homestead land scheme 'Vasundhara'

Hundreds of poor people have allegedly received work order for house construction without being provided land

Published: 19th February 2020 07:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th February 2020 07:55 AM   |  A+A-


For representational purposes

By Express News Service

JAGATSINGHPUR: Massive irregularities have to come to the fore in implementation of Vasundhara scheme, which aims at providing land to homestead-less families, in Balikuda block of the district.

Hundreds of poor people have allegedly received work order for construction of house without being provided land. Similarly, 45 persons having own landed property have received work order for construction of housing units under the scheme.

As per the provisions of the scheme, four decimal land should be allotted to a homestead-less family for construction of house.

However, it has been found that funds have been disbursed to hundreds of poor people for construction of housing units without giving land to them.

Former panchayat samiti member of Garam Rekha Biswal alleged that though siblings Rita and Hemant Jena have no land of their own, they have been given work order for construction of house under Vasundhara scheme.

Similarly, work order has been issued in favour of one Farida Bibi. However, no woman with this name resides in the panchayat. 

Biswal further said another woman, Farida Begum did not apply under the scheme as she has a two-storey building.

However, funds to the tune of Rs 90,000 has been deposited in her bank account for construction of house. Similarly, work order has been issued in favour of Salama Bibi who did not apply for the housing scheme. 

Under the scheme, there is a provision to allocate Rs 20,000 towards first instalment for construction work and `30,000 in the next phase for completion of the DPC level.

Surprisingly, a beneficiary, Mustari Bibi, has not yet started construction work but Rs 50,000 has been given to her. 

Sources said many poor persons are yet to receive financial assistance for construction of house despite having land while work order has been issued in favour of beneficiaries who don’t own any land in different panchayats of the block.

Sarpanch of Garam panchayat Diparani Jena, however, refuted the allegations and claimed work order has been given to genuine beneficiaries.

Assistant BDO, Balikuda Ajay Kumar Behera said on the basis of the allegations, a Rural Housing team visited Garam and other panchayats of Balikuda and Naugaon blocks to probe the irregularities in distribution of work order. 

Project Director, DRDA Sarojkant Mohanty said the administration is aware of the irregularities. “We are waiting for the inquiry report. After the team submits its report, necessary action will be taken against officials if any irregularities are detected in implementation of the scheme,” he added.

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