OTS evokes strong Resentment
- Housing beneficiaries are questioning officials and volunteers why should they pay money now for registration of houses they have been living in for several years
- The resistance is stronger in rural and remote areas compared with urban localities
- The OTS vests beneficiaries with complete property rights after payment of prescribed money and registration at village/ward secretariats
Vizianagaram: The one-time settlement (OTS) introduced by the YSRCP government to provide permanent rights to housing beneficiaries is facing a strong opposition from people, especially in remote areas and villages. The officials and village and ward volunteers who have been tasked with implementing the scheme are facing the heat from beneficiaries who are questioning why should they pay Rs 10,000 for their own houses in which they have been living for the past few decades.
There are 2,89,810 housing beneficiaries in the district under various schemes, who built homes with loans from the government. Now the government has identified 76,514 are eligible for OTS scheme and proposed to collect a nominal amount from them to bestow permanent housing pattas and close the loan account.
As per the OTS scheme, the beneficiaries in panchayats have to pay Rs 10,000, in municipalities Rs 15,000 and in Vizianagaram municipal corporation it is Rs.20,000. The government targetted to mop up Rs 77.3 crore under this scheme but there has been serious resistance to the scheme.
As the scheme gives complete property rights on the houses occupied by beneficiaries which, under prevailing provisions, can't be sold or mortgaged, it is not being appreciated much in rural areas who see an attempt by the government to squeeze money out of them.
A village secretary, under condition of anonymity, said the beneficiaries have been living in the houses for many decades without paying a single rupee and they feel it is their own house. Now they are reluctant to pay the amount to government. "We along with ward volunteers are struggling a lot to convince them about the benefits of the scheme and collect the amount as ordered by our superiors. It has become a big headache for us," he said.
Speaking on OTS , collector A Suryakumari said that they had received Rs 7.51 crore from 6,610 housing beneficiaries so far and the number would increase in coming few days. She said that the staff is explaining the benefits and convincing the people. The beneficiary can mortgage their house and get loans after getting the complete right on the property. It would be a great help for them, she said.