PARADIP: Turning tables on defaulters of Prime Minister Awas Yojana (PMAY), Kujang Block officials on Wednesday staged dharna in front of the house of a beneficiary at Badang village in Balia panchayat for not constructing housing unit despite availing funds under the scheme.
Assistant Block Development Officer (BDO) Santosh Satpathy along with executive officer of Balia Pratap Mohapatra, Gram Rozgar Sevak Prakash Behera, project coordinator Jitendra Rout and ward member Padan Swain staged a sit-in in front of the house of Madhusmita Bhol demanding immediate construction of her PMAY house.
The block and panchayat officials took this step after the administration warned them of stopping their salary for non-completion of housing units under the scheme.
Sources said thousands of beneficiaries of the district, who were selected for PMAY benefits, are yet to complete their houses due to various reasons such as high unit cost, rise in price of construction materials and negligence of block and panchayat officials.
The State Government had directed the district administration to sensitise beneficiaries through door-to-door campaigning and village-level meeting to expedite construction of PMAY houses.
However, the beneficiaries did not pay any heed despite frequent reminders by block and panchayat officials.
After the administration warned of action, officials even beat drums in front of the houses of beneficiaries reminding them to complete their units or surrender the monetary assistance availed under the scheme. When this step too failed to yield any result, the officials decided to stage dharna in front of the house of beneficiaries. The Assistant BDO said the sit-in was staged to expedite construction of PMAY units and save themselves from Government action.
“On February 21, we decided to adopt this method in Kujang block, he added. Meanwhile, Bhol said of the 1.20 lakh assistance, she received Rs 20,000 in 2017-2018. However, she spent the money on funeral rites of her father and mother-in-law.
“After I gave assurance to complete the house by March 31, the officials called off their dharna,” she said. The district administration has set a target to complete 869 PMAY houses in Kujang in 2019-2020. However, only 360 housing units have been completed so far.