The Centre had warned the Nitish Kumar government that Bihar won’t be given targets under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G) for 2018-19, given its failure to achieve the modest target it had itself committed to do by March 31 this year.
The Centre is aiming at completing its target of 1 crore rural houses under the scheme by December 31, three months ahead of the March 31 deadline. But there is a growing realisation that Bihar may derail the target as it hasn’t completed even 3% of its target. Bihar is to build 11.76 lakh houses, but it has built just 32,530 rural houses so far.
Bihar has impressed upon the Centre that a massive shortage of sand in the state due to an unprecedented crackdown on its illegal mining led to the shortage of the raw material. “We have directed officials to ensure uninterrupted supply of sand,” a senior Bihar official told ET. To meet the target, the state will now have to build 1.22 lakh houses every month till December.
At the last empowered committee meeting on the scheme in March, minutes of which were recently circulated to all states, the Centre pointed out to Bihar that as on April 2, 2018, the state had completed only 11,561 houses against a cumulative target of 11.76 lakh houses, four lakh of which had to be constructed by March 2018. “The state had committed to finish construction of at least 25,000 houses by March 2018,” the Centre told Bihar, pointing out how it had failed even its own modest promise. “The joint secretary (rural housing) indicated the slow progress of the state in implementing PMAY-G. The JS informed the state that considering their poor performance, targets for 2018-19 may not be provided to them,” the minutes mention.
At that meeting, Bihar had committed to complete 50,000 houses by April 12, but has missed that target too. As per the minutes, Bihar reasoned that it wanted to “surrender” the target of 2.46 lakh houses due to non-availability of SC/ST beneficiaries to whom such houses are to be allotted, and wanted such houses to be “reallocated” to other categories of people. The Centre is still to take a call on that. Nearly 8 lakh houses are under construction in Bihar, with the first or second instalment of the subsidy being released to the beneficiaries — the focus now is on speedy construction in Bihar.
The other state with a big task under the scheme, Uttar Pradesh, has already completed construction of 8.2 lakh houses against its total target of 9.7 lakh houses.
Courtesy: ET Bureau