People’s Housing Programme remains incomplete in SaptariA total of 1,133 houses are to be built under the programme in Saptari.
Abadhesh Kumar Jha
Impoverished Dalit families in Saptari district have been left in the lurch as the construction of their houses under the People’s Housing Programme remains incomplete.
In 2013, the government had announced the programme vowing to build houses for impoverished Dalit families in the district. Although the programme began on time as stated, it is struggling to reach completion mainly due to a lack of human resources and sluggish work by the local construction committee.
Under the programme, 775 houses were to be built in Saptari in the last fiscal year. A committee formed in coordination with Bideshwor Prasad Yadav, a Province 2 assembly member, had collected the data of impoverished Dalit families, including Dom, Halkhor and Mester people, in the fiscal year 2018/19. But not a single house got completed last year. Around Rs 80 million of the programme’s budget was returned to the government’s coffers in the previous fiscal.
This year, the committee had called for a meeting on September 12 for the resumption of the pending house construction. However, the meeting remained undecided, as the coordinator was absent from the meeting. Most of the members of the committee, who are provincial assembly members, did not attend the meeting citing hectic schedules.
Krishna Dev Jha, chief at the Urban Development and Building Construction Division Office, said the construction of the houses will start after the formation of policies and verification of the list of Dom, Halkhor and Mester people.
“If the meetings of the stakeholders do not take place, it will affect the construction process,” Jha said.
Satya Narayan Mandal, a leader from the opposition party, said the programme has remained incomplete due to the incompetence of the provincial assembly members.
“I am also a member of the provincial assembly, but I have yet to receive the working guidelines. The coordinator of the committee did not attend the meeting. How will the programme move ahead at this rate?” said Mandal.
Under the People’s Housing Programme, a total of 1,133 houses are to be built in Saptari. Each recipient family will receive a budget of Rs226,000 to construct a house.
Devan Sada from a Musahar community in Babhangama Katti said many impoverished people like him are suffering for want of a roof over their heads. “The government does not work for poor people like us,” said Sada. Most of the affected families blame the Urban Development and Building Construction Division Office for its sluggishness in constructing houses for the poor.
A total of 999 houses were built in Ghoghanpur, Bathnaha, Barahi, Birpur, Aurahi, Kalyanpur and Manraja of Saptari during the first year of the housing programme.