W.B. govt introduces stricter norms for housing scheme

stricter norms for housing scheme

The West Bengal government has introduced stricter norms for sanctioning funds under Bangla Awas Yojna (BAY) to plug leakage following allegations of cut money pouring into government offices from beneficiaries.

A recent notification by the panchayat and rural development department makes it mandatory for beneficiaries to send stage-wise photographs of under-construction dwelling units to the department before release of the next instalment of BAY funds.

The government has asked district magistrates to organise block-level beneficiary interaction sessions to make them aware of project details, the amount allotted and details of materials and construction design of dwelling units.

Department officials said: “The DMs have been asked to call all the beneficiaries to the orientation programme and hand them the sanction letter. Apart from making them aware of the details of their houses, including the time frame (120 days) and particulars regarding the room, balcony and cooking area, they will be informed that they don’t need to pay money to anyone.”

“District officials have also been advised to provide handbooks to each beneficiary detailing the benefits and probable house design with required specifications,” an official said. The department will also give a phone number to the beneficiaries of each block to lodge complaints if anybody demands money under BAY.

The decision to introduce stricter norms comes amid allegations that beneficiaries had to pay Rs 10,000-25,000 to get enrolled under the scheme, which provides each beneficiary Rs 1.2 lakh to set up a dwelling unit on their plots.

The monitoring has become all the more necessary as West Bengal is among the top performers in constructing concrete houses for the rural poor. It has set a target of completing nearly 7 lakh houses before March 2020 and will complete construction of 22 lakh houses by end-2022.

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