Cuttack: Massive irregularities in implementation of rural housing schemes in the district have come to the fore recently. Many block-level officials are trying their best to provide concrete houses to ineligibles for their vested interest, it was alleged.
The names of altogether 72,921 ineligible people have been recommended for concrete houses under the rural housing schemes by the authorities of 14 blocks in the district, sources said.
The state government has decided to provide concrete houses to the people of Cuttack district who were left out of the priority list for the housing schemes. The state government’s decision came in the wake of massive destruction caused by Cyclone Fani that hit the state May 3, 2019.
In deference to the district administration’s directive to recommend the names of eligible people for obtaining concrete houses, the authorities of 14 blocks had suggested 1, 28, 327 names for inclusion in the housing schemes. However, a survey by the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) found that the block authorities have recommended the names of 72,921 ineligible people, sources said.
The lists of ineligible people include 18,502 from Mahanga block, 6,317 from Athagarh, 6,366 from Baramba, 1,618 from Banki, 2,177 from Damapara, 1,807 from Baranga, 5,264 from Cuttack Sadar, 2,412 from Kantapara, 3,302 from Narasinghpur, 8,267 from Niali, 10,830 from Nischintakoili, 3,477 from Salipur, 660 from Tigiria and 1,860 from Tangi-Choudwar.
“Several people have managed to include their names in the fresh lists for concrete houses by bribing the block officials. Some political leaders at the grassroots-level are also promoting all these irregularities,” said an official of the DRDA.
DRDA project director BB Nayak, however, said they are strictly scrutinising the lists submitted by the block authorities for inclusion in the housing schemes. “Not a single ineligible person would be included in the beneficiaries’ list,” he added.
Earlier, there were allegations that a former chairman of Mahanga panchayat samiti had managed to issue a concrete house in his brother’s name under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY). Similar allegations were raised against the vice-chairman of Baramba panchayat samiti.
The police and Vigilance officials are now probing the allegations, sources said. “Massive irregularities in the implementation of rural housing schemes are going on at block-levels in the district. Some politicians are encouraging all this to appease their supporters,” said social activist Santosh Sahu.
CPM leader Badri Narayan Das claimed that many eligible poor families of Sapha, Kanheipur and Bhatimunda panchayats in Tangi-Choudwar block have been denied concrete houses by the administration.
“The houses of several families at Bhatimunda had been damaged by the Super Cyclone in 1999. The block authorities have failed to provide them concrete houses yet,” Das said.
According to Das, some of these families had sought the intervention of the Orissa High Court in the issue.
Taking up the case, the HC has directed the administration to provide houses to eight families of Bhatimunda, Das claimed.