BHUBANESWAR: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Tuesday said that the state government would provide houses to rural people who were deprived of dwelling units under the Centre’s PMAY-Gramin scheme.
The state Cabinet approved another proposal to provide house repair assistance of Rs 3,000 each to 30 lakh families who had already availed financial support under Biju Pucca Ghar Yojana (BPGY) and two other state-sponsored schemes.
Claiming that Odisha is the first state to announce house repair assistance in the country, Patnaik said, “The state government will bear an additional burden of Rs 1,444 crore for this purpose. The amount will be met from the BPGY budget.”
Immediately after the Cabinet meeting, the chief minister said in a video message that no family would face housing problems as long he is at the helm.
Highlighting that the house repair amount would be directly deposited in the bank accounts of the beneficiaries, Patnaik said as many as 30 lakh families would get the assistance.
“The state government has been trying its best to get the sanction for the construction of more houses for the poor under the Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana (Gramin) scheme.
“However, if the Centre does not accept the genuine demands of the people, the state government will take all measures to provide houses to the needy who have been left out of the central scheme,” Patnaik said.
Describing the Cabinet decision to provide house repair assistance to the beneficiaries of BPGY, Nirman Shramik Pucca Ghar Scheme, and Mining Area Pucca Ghar schemes as “historic,” Patnaik said his government will certainly ensure that everyone has a roof over his head.
“A house is an identity of a family and every person dreams of owning a house. Odisha is ravaged by cyclonic storms almost every year and hence, it has become pertinent for people to own a pucca shelter. Biju Babu had dreamt of a proper roof over every head in the state,” the chief minister said.
To fulfil this dream, the first Cabinet meeting in 2014 had taken a decision to convert every kutcha house into a pucca one and the BPGY was a step in this direction, the chief minister said.
A day before, a delegation of BJD MPs had met Union Minister for Rural Development Giriraj Singh and discussed issues relating to the state’s demand for construction of more houses under the PMAY(G) scheme.
Earlier in the day, the state government had released Rs 350 crore as livelihood assistance for distribution among beneficiaries of the national and state food security schemes in all 30 districts of the state.
Opposition BJP and Congress strongly criticised the state government’s intention behind making announcements when the State Election Commission (SEC) has already issued a Model Code of Conduct in view of the three-tier panchayat polls.
“The state government has been making such announcements because the elections are nearing,” BJP spokesperson Golak Mohapatra said.
OPCC president Niranjan Patnaik also raised questions on the state government’s gesture, saying “Both the BJD and the BJP-led government at the Centre have entered into a competition over announcing doles before the panchayat elections”.