Dalits await houses under People’s Housing Programme in BaglungAlthough the plan was to construct 109 houses for Dalits in the district last year, construction has been left incomplete due to budget shortage.
The family of Jayaram Darji has long been waiting for a new home to be built under the government’s People’s Housing Programme.
The impoverished Dalit family of Rismi village in Galkot Municipality in Baglung district has been living in their neighbour’s hut as their new home remains incomplete.
“The walls and the door and wind frames of our new home were built last year. The construction has not progressed since,” Darji said.
Darji’s family has never owned a home. They were pleased when the government announced the housing programme. They had never imagined that their pleasure would turn to dismay.
Darji started building a small home for his family with Rs 83,333 the government had provided as a first instalment of the housing programme. The money was spent on building walls and installing door and window frames.
Darji would require the second and the third instalments of the housing aid to complete the home. But the government has not released the money yet.
“The house is not even complete and it already looks rundown,” Darji said.
Under the People’s Housing Programme, the government had pledged to provide Rs 333,000 each to the recipient families to construct a two-room house.
Like the Darjis, there are nine Dalit families in Galkot Municipality who have yet to receive the second and the third instalments of the housing aid.
According to the Urban Development and Building Construction Division Office in Baglung, their homes should have been completed in the fiscal year 2017/18.
Trilok Thapa, ward chairman of the municipality, said the housing programme could not achieve the desired results in time as the government did not allocate the budget required to complete the construction of new homes for the Dalit families.
“These families have been frequenting their concerned municipal ward offices asking for the budget, but we cannot do anything,” said Thapa. “It is the Urban Development and Building Construction Division Office that should be allocating the budget for the programme.”
The government had announced the programme targeting the impoverished Dalit families in Baglung in 2013.
Under the housing programme, the authorities concerned had announced to construct 109 houses in the district last year. The majority of those houses remain incomplete due to the budget shortage.
Tejendra Paudel, acting chief at the Urban Development and Building Construction Division Office, said many impoverished people like the Darjis were suffering for want of a roof over their heads.
“But we cannot address their concern until the centre releases the budget for the programme,” said Paudel.
Indra Lal Sapkota, a state assembly member of Gandaki Province, said he had been raising the issue in the assembly but to no avail.
“The Ministry of Finance should be serious about implementing the programme to provide homes to these low-income families,” he said.