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Probe into housing spooks big shots

Probe into housing spooks big shots
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Highlights

With the State government ordering an inquiry by a retired IAS officer into the irregularities running into crores of rupees in the Indiramma housing scheme in YSR Nagar, near Kothur, utilising power, fake documents and illegal sanctions for securing houses and costly sites, in the process depriving the poor of their dwellings, many ‘big shots’ involved in the scam are a scared lot.

Nellore: With the State government ordering an inquiry by a retired IAS officer into the irregularities running into crores of rupees in the Indiramma housing scheme in YSR Nagar, near Kothur, utilising power, fake documents and illegal sanctions for securing houses and costly sites, in the process depriving the poor of their dwellings, many ‘big shots’ involved in the scam are a scared lot.

The scheme was taken up in 2007 with a proposal to build a colony spread over 170 acres for the benefit of 6,468 persons. In all 28 contractors were given the responsibility to construct the houses each of them to construct 150 to 500 houses. Each unit cost was Rs 43,000 in addition to Rs 30,000 bank loan. Each house measuring 230 sq ft was to be built in an area of 1.5 cents. An amount of Rs 46.91 crore was sanctioned for creating the basic infrastructure.

In the name of contractors, 15 Congress leaders utilising their contacts with the State Housing Board are alleged to have secured sanction of bills. The board released Rs 28.44 crore without even collecting the earnest money deposit (EMD) from the contractors. The construction work was of poor quality, as stated in its technical report by an agency headed by former SE of the board Venkateswar Reddy.

Following a complaint on the scam, the then District Collector Srikanth had directed the R & B department engineers to submit a report. The report, while confirming that the construction of 4,000 houses out of 6,000 ‘pucca’ houses was of poor quality, had recommended action against the contractors. Suspension of the board EE Nagesh and DE Sarma was ordered. Based on the report, the then Collector ordered action against the contractors.

Criminal cases were registered against Srikanth Reddy, Rajendra Kumar, Sarath Chandra Kiran, Shaik Khader Basha, Udaga Sekhar, Venugopal Reddy, Venkateswar Reddy, Ramana Reddy, Amanullah, Ramakrishna Reddy, Prasanth Kiran, Srinivasul Reddy, Vijayabhaskar Reddy, Shaik Peeru, Prabhakar Reddy, Abdul Basha, Sudhakar Reddy, Krishnayya, Gopi, Bhavani, I Srinivasula Reddy, Sridhar Rao and V Bhaskar Reddy.

According to official records, only 244 houses have been completed, while 3,449 houses have just walls. As many as 2,257 houses have been stopped at the window level, while 765 have just foundations. Work on 649 houses was not taken up at all. Even guidelines on the use of fly-ash bricks and width of walls have been violated. While a woman legislator allegedly built 1,000 houses, using a ‘benami’, a corporator constructed 1,500 houses. A Congress party leader built 500 houses, with the contractors remaining silent spectators. Now the contractors are said to be facing the music.

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