Grants under People’s Housing Programme insufficientSince 2013, only 20,000 houses have been constructed across the country under the housing programme.
Last year, Pabitra Pariyar of Sainamaina Municipality received a grant under the People’s Housing Programme.
Pariyar’s six-member family was relieved to be moving out of the shed that they called home. But to Pariyar’s dismay, the aid afforded by the government could not cover the total construction cost of the house.
According to Pariyar, the government had granted the family Rs 336,000 under the housing programme but the amount was insufficient to complete the house’s construction. Halfway through the construction work, she ran out of money and had to borrow Rs 150,000 from her neighbour to complete her house.
The family has now moved out of the shed but Pariyar is facing difficulties to pay back the loan.
“My husband is ill and my children are young. I do not have the means to pay back the loan to my neighbour,” she said.
In 2013, the government had announced the People’s Housing Programme under which it would build houses for impoverished Dalit families. Under the programme, authorities had planned to construct 20,000 houses every year. But in the last eight years, only 20,000 houses have been constructed across the country. The programme has not met its target due to a lack of necessary budget and delay in administrative works, said Dil Bahadur Gurung, a member of the Planning Commission.
In the fiscal year 2018/19, the programme initiated by the federal government was handed over to the provincial government.
In Lumbini Province, 3,428 houses were constructed under the People’s Housing Programme in the last three years, according to the data of the Ministry of Physical Infrastructures Development. After the programme was handed to the provincial government, the province had permitted 7,416 families for new housing.
“The beneficiaries—impoverished minorities and Dalits—should have land plots to get housing grants under the programme. But most don’t have their own land. This has led to difficulties in reaching the target of the programme,” said Sushilchandra Tiwari, secretary at the ministry.
“There’s no management of budget and human resources for the programme,” Chitra Bahadur Karki, mayor of Sainamaina Municipality, told the Post. “Local units are not involved in the programme since it falls under the provincial government.”
Under the People’s Housing Programme, the government had pledged to provide Rs 336,000 each to the recipient families to construct a two-room house.
“The plan is not suitable for those with a large family. On the other hand, the allocated budget is not sufficient to build a house with a toilet. This is why many houses are left incomplete,” said Dhurba Dhital, contact officer of the People’s Housing Programme, also an engineer at the ministry. “Impoverished families have to take loans to complete the construction of their houses. Most of them have left their homes incomplete since they don’t have the means to pay back the loans.”
The situation in Province 2 is also similar.
“The federal government did not allocate a budget as per the target. We don’t even have the budget to monitor and conduct inspection” said Ramadhar Sah, secretary at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructures in Province 2. “The programme could be effective if local units were made responsible to select impoverished households and mobilise budget.”