Only 21 lakh houses to be built for poor in Andhra Pradesh as against sanctioned 28.30 lakh

November 11, 2022
Only 21 lakh houses to be built for poor in Andhra Pradesh as against sanctioned 28.30 lakh

AMARAVATI: The Andhra Pradesh government will construct only 21 lakh houses for the poor under its much-hyped ‘Pedalandariki Illu‘ (Housing for All) programme, as against the 28.30 lakh originally sanctioned.

State Housing Minister J Ramesh said, “We have distributed 30.20 lakh house sites and are building 21 lakh houses in two phases. The programme will be completed by March 2024.”

He said 80 per cent of the houses were under construction now.

The Minister, however, did not elaborate why the scheme has been scaled down to 21 lakh from 28,30,227 houses as sanctioned in the year 2020.

In the first phase, 15.10 lakh houses were supposed to be built by June 2022 and, in the second phase, another 13.20 lakh by June 2023 at a total cost of Rs 50,944 crore.

The government has, in fact, taken up 18,63,562 houses in the first phase but construction of over four lakh of those has not started even after a lapse of over 17 months.

As per the latest data of the Housing Department, only 1,52,325 of the 14.61 lakh houses (started) have been completed so far, with more than 8.30 lakh still stuck below the basement level.

Only in nine out of the 26 districts in the state, the house construction has at least reached the basement level.

As it is devoid of funds, the state government dovetailed its housing programme with various Central schemes like Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana, MGNREGS and Jal Jeevan Mission, hoping to garner about Rs 25,000 crore for the first phase works.

The state government was supposed to spend just over Rs 1,600 crore from its own coffers but is struggling to pool its resources.

Housing department officials cite many reasons for the poor progress in the programme, which the Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy government touts as its “flagship.”

“Funds crunch obviously tops the list but non-availability of material, essentially sand, is another main dampener. Heavy rains over the last few months have also delayed the construction activity,” a senior official of the Housing Department said.

For ‘Pedalandariki Illu’ in rural areas, there is a loan component of Rs 35,000 each. Only about 5.85 lakh beneficiaries could secure loan from the banks so far.

“In every Village Secretariat, we have entrusted the task to the welfare assistant to coordinate with the banks and facilitate the loan mobilisation process. We have involved the Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty also in this task,” the Housing department official said.

In districts like Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao (NTR), Krishna, Prakasam and Vizianagaram, the banks have so far delivered less number of loans.

This issue came up for discussion during a meeting between the state government and the bankers wherein the latter were said to have cited the “poor progress of works” for limited disbursement of loans.

It is an interesting paradox in the urban areas that the beneficiaries are “reluctant” to take loans.

The bankers told the government that “poor progress of construction” was a major bottleneck in disbursal of loans for affordable housing.

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