Housing for All a distant dream in rural Gujarat
For the last five years, Gujarat government has failed to meet the annual targets set under Pradhan Mantri Gramin Awas Yojana (PMGAY), though the targets have been consecutively lowered every year, and now stand at about one-fifth of what it was in 2012-13.
At a review meeting held recently, Gujarat CM, Vijay Rupani, expressed his disappointment over the poor show in rural housing and pulled up concerned officials for failing to implement the flagship programme of the Union government.
Official records of the panchayat, rural housing and rural development department reveal that on most years the state was unable to achieve more than 40%-50% of rural housing targets under PMGAY. In 2016-17, besides failing to reach the target set for the year, the department was also unable to complete the backlog of 2015-16.
However, the inability of the government to meet rural housing targets every year didn’t keep the CM from announcing at a recent function in Anand that the government will build 204, 703 new houses in rural Gujarat to achieve ‘housing for all’ by 2022. Given the current pace of government work, the promise seems hard to fulfil. The function at Anand was held for allocation of PMGAY grants to beneficiaries.
When contacted about the slow pace in rural housing, Jayanti Kavadia, MOS, panchayat, rural housing, & rural development (independent chage) said, “Many beneficiaries did not have land to build houses and so the government has started allocating land to them under various schemes.”
Explaining one part of the problem in achieving PMGAY targets, Kavadia said, “As the houses are supposed to be built by the beneficiaries themselves, there are many issues that crop up.” The minister said that the department tries to provide housing to the needy by resolving all possible issues.