Number of new houses for rural poor dips

The number of houses being constructed for the rural poor in the state has seen a dip over the last couple of years. As per the latest edition of the Socio-Economic Review (2012-13), the number of units constructed under the Sardar Patel Awas Yojana and the Indira Awas Yojana has dropped by over 28%.

Under the Sardar Patel Awas Yojana, a scheme for landless agricultural labourers and village artisans living Below Poverty Line in rural areas, 33,700 houses were constructed in 2009-10.

In the subsequent year (2010-11), the number of constructed houses came down to 28,200 against a target of 34,200 units under this scheme.

The number dipped further in financial year 2011-12 when only 24,500 houses were built against a target of 28,600, stated the review.

A total of 4.9 lakh houses have been completed since the Sardar Patel scheme was implemented in April 1997, under which an assistance of Rs 54,500 is given to the beneficiaries.

When contacted, a senior state Panchayat Department official said, "That is not true. In fact, the reverse is happening." The official, however, did not elaborate.

The situation is no different in central-sponsored Indira Awas Yojana for Gujarat, where over 57% of the population resides in rural areas.

During 2011-12, over 1.12 lakh houses were built under the central scheme at a cost of Rs 580 crore, which is about 33% less than the 1.67 lakh houses built a year ago at a cost of Rs 700 crore.

In 2012-13, over 37,900 houses have been constructed (up to October) under the Yojana at a cost of Rs 250 crore.

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