'Operation Housing' mired in controversies

A view of the Indiramma housing project in Anantapur district
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A view of the Indiramma housing project in Anantapur district

Highlights

  • The OTS survey undertaken by the housing corporation personnel receives adverse response from beneficiaries
  • Of the total 5.10 lakh beneficiaries, a mere 6,133 beneficiaries came forward and paid total `7.6 crore under the OTS scheme
  • In various cases, there were alleged impersonations as fake beneficiaries applied for houses in the name of real beneficiaries and eventually sold the houses and disappeared
  • When the OTS survey personnel enquired from the victims on whose names houses were sanctioned, the latter feigned ignorance

Anantapur: 'Operation Housing' executed by successive governments during the past two to three decades is in a mess and is deeply mired in irregularities.

The State government by bringing to the fore 'One Time Settlement' (OTS) scheme to realise the backlog housing loan dues of the past two or more decades has resulted in the in housing officials feeling the heat of the so called beneficiaries fury.

The OTS survey undertaken by the housing corporation personnel is facing adverse reactions from the people. In the first instance, the survey personnel are unable to locate the beneficiaries as many of them had sold the houses allotted to them. Some moneyed people in some cases purchased 3-4 weaker section housing projects in a row and built mansions in their place.

In different cases, there were impersonations as fake beneficiaries applied for houses in the name of real beneficiaries and eventually sold the houses and disappeared, landing the real beneficiaries in a soup. When the OTS survey personnel enquired from the victims on whose names houses were sanctioned, the latter feigned ignorance about the house loan as they never applied for a house in the past.

One Bhagyamma in Kundurpi mandal was slapped a notice to pay her outstanding Indiramma housing loan. She told the housing authorities that she had never taken any housing loan and that the house she was living in was built by her late husband. The authorities expressed surprise at the impersonation scam.

In Penukonda division survey, the authorities came across beneficiaries who claimed bills without building houses. This cannot happen without the connivance of housing staff concerned. There were also local leaders who processed housing benefit in the name of some ignorant people by way of impersonation.

While the government has asked the housing authorities to meet the set targets for OTS by December 2021, they are in a piquant situation as several irregularities had crept in and even the real beneficiaries are not willing to repay their outstanding dues. The government has woken up about outstanding dues after more than 20 years.

The beneficiaries are openly telling officials that they cannot pay. They are also not bothered about housing documents and that they are willing to live in their houses even if the housing corporation declines to legitimise the ownership of their houses.

The past governments did not act against the beneficiaries for political reasons. But the present government's OTS scheme is also being opposed by the beneficiaries. The government announced that if the beneficiaries of the housing programme during the period 1983-2011 paid the interest amount on their loan, the houses will be registered in their names. Of the 5.10 lakh odd beneficiaries, a mere 6,133 beneficiaries came forward and paid in total Rs 7.6 crore under the OTS scheme. Hardly 10 per cent responded to the scheme.

In Talupula mandal, out of 7,600 beneficiaries only 3,400 could be traced. However, Housing Corporation project director Keshava Naidu in a statement said that those living in the government houses must pay their dues. If they failed to do so, action will be taken against them, he warned.

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