After being left out of a survey conducted ten years ago, the benefits of the Centre's flagship housing scheme for the poor has eluded the residents of these 15 villages in Madhya Pradesh's Damoh district.
Hatta, Damoh: Sangeeta Gond of Dhula village, under Amjhir gram panchayat in Hatta Block of Damoh district of Madhya Pradesh, lives in a kuccha tapri made out of grass, twigs and slates. So do the 200 other households in her village.
Manakpura village under Naryanpura Gram
Panchayat has hardly fared any better. All the 35 houses in Manakpura are kuccha
tapris, informed Mukesh, a tribal resident from the village. The same is the
case with residents of villages falling under the Bacchama gram panchayat,
where not a single household has received a pucca house under the Pradhan
Mantri Awas Yojana. In Lakhan Sen’s village, only three people of the 60-70
households have benefitted from the scheme.
Tapris in place of pucca Homes
The tapris are kuccha homes, which leave the
residents vulnerable to percolating rainwater, and poisonous reptiles and insects.
They are, at best, shelters from the burning heat, freezing cold and rain. Bureaucratic lapses have prevented the primarily tribal population
of Hatta benefiting from official largesse under the Pradhan Mantri Awas
Yojana, that entitles them to pucca homes.
In 2015, the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana was
announced to provide pucca houses to the
economically weaker sections in rural and urban India. But the benefits of the
scheme continue to elude the villagers of more than 20 tribal villages under
the Bachchama, Choraiya, Garreh, Kuluakala, Bacchama, Narayanpura, and Amjhir gram panchayats, even as the
government makes promises to provide dwellings to all by 2022.
The situation has left villagers like
Suhagrani Singh of Udaipura village under Bacchama gram panchayat baffled,
while making the likes of Ram Singh Gond angry and resentful.
It is not as if the people have not been
demanding their rights to pucca dwellings. But whenever approached, “they tell
us that the scheme has not come,” Nannu Adivasi, a tribal leader and elder resident of Manakpura village under Narayanpura gram panchayat, told 101Reporters. Khalak Singh from the same village echoed his sentiments. "It is these
bureaucrats and their style of functioning that has prevented us from availing
of a single pucca house in our village.”
Official explanation for the lapse
Although local BJP MLA PL Tantavay had gone on to raise the issue on the floor of the Vidhan Sabha, the ruling BJP government in power has failed to resolve this. During elections, candidates regularly meet the people here and promise a solution to the problem. However, as villagers pointed out, they just disappear after garnering the necessary votes to come to power.
Made out of grass, twigs and slates, these houses barely afford any protection against the elements (Picture credit: Naresh Kumar Mishra)
Meanwhile, officials blame a flaw in the survey for eligible beneficiaries in Damoh district being denied houses under the scheme. A total of 15 villages from six gram panchayats were left out of a survey done in 2011, resulting in not a single beneficiary from any of these villages being included in the list, Hatta Chief Executive Officer Vratesh Jain told 101Reporters. “We are trying to prepare the data by including all the eligible beneficiaries in the housing plus scheme,” he said.
According to him, 174 beneficiaries in Manpura village in Kuluakala, 117 beneficiaries under Garreh, 302 beneficiaries from Choraiya, 471 beneficiaries from Bacchama, 307 beneficiaries from Ghogra and 252 beneficiaries from Amjhir have also been included in the updated list. The new action plan includes villages where very few houses have been built under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. “It is our hope and effort that by 2022, the people can be given the benefits in keeping with the plan and purpose of the government,” Jain said.
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