Eye on votes, govt unveils housing plan

The state government has taken up a new housing project under which poor people will be given money to construct a house on their own plots of land. The project, named Adhikar, will be implemented in 11 backward districts.

The move is being seen as an attempt by the Trinamool Congress-led government to woo rural voters ahead of the panchayat polls.

Under the scheme - to be executed with funds provided by the Centre under the Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF) as well as state funds - poor people who could not find place in the BPL list will be given Rs 45,000 to construct a house on their own plot. The scheme will run parallel to similar housing schemes like Amar Bari, Nijo Bhumi Nijo Griho and Indira Awas Yojana.

"Poor people who have a plot but no house will be given Rs 45,000 to construct a home including a bathroom. The project will be executed by the state panchayat department. Funds for the project will be given from the special BRGF fund and state fund. In each Assembly seat of these 11 backward districts, 200 houses will be constructed," state panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee said.

He said the state government had written to the Centre urging it to increase fund disbursed for construction of each house. "Now Rs 45,000 is given for construction of one house. But the amount is not sufficient. We want the financial assistance to be fixed at Rs 1 lakh. The Centre had informed me that they will consider our appeal. The final decision is yet to be taken. Is it possible for anyone to construct a house with Rs 45,000?" Mukherjee said.

Adhir slams Didi's 'shoddy work'

Minister of State for Railways Adhir Ranjan Choudhury today used a news conference organised by the West Bengal Pradesh Congress to criticise his predecessor Mamata Banerjee for her allegedly shoddy approach in implementing railway projects in the state.

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