Bihar is likely to miss the deadline of March-end for completing goals under the central government’s flagship rural housing programme, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Gramin), causing worry at the Centre and spelling potential embarrassment to the Nitish Kumar-headed JD (U)-BJP coalition regime in the state.
The agenda of an ongoing two-day review meet has flagged this matter. It says Bihar has completed only about 300,000 houses out of the sanctioned 1.17 million and has not even sanctioned about 240,000 houses so far. Further, another 216,000 have not been completed even a year after the release of first of three installments to beneficiaries to make the house.
“This will come in the way of achievement of the target of construction of one crore (10 million) PMAY-G houses by March 2019,” says the agenda of the review meeting called by the Centre, pointing to various laggard states comprising Bihar.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had fixed a deadline of March 31, 2019, to complete PMAY (G). ET had earlier reported that Bihar was facing a major problem of shortage of sand to build the houses because of a crackdown on illegal mining, besides unavailability of land. The state is now contemplating giving money directly to beneficiaries to buy land after directly negotiating with land-owners, said a senior central government official.
The state accounts for about half of the 485,000-odd houses that have yet to be sanctioned across the country. Besides, it has the highest number of “delayed” houses (about 216,000 out of nearly 794,000) which have not been built after the release of money over a year ago. Odisha is struggling on this count too, with about 116,000 delayed houses.
The Centre has demanded all states, especially Bihar, to prepare an action plan with timeframes to achieve the targets by the end of March and provide completion targets set by them by various dates, such as January 31, February 28, March 15 and March 31.