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Waiting for the Promised Pucca House

A family of five living below poverty line in West Bengal has been hoping that their votes will get them a pucca house. Will their fate change with elections next year?

Arijit Debsharma is the only earning member in a family of five, identified as living below the poverty line. He earns a living by driving a rickshaw. What adds to the difficult circumstances of this family, living in Dilalpur Village in West Bengal’s North Dinajpur District, is the partially paralysed state of Sumita Debsharma, his mother.

During its tenure, the current government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has undoubtedly made many lofty promises including delivering pucca houses to below poverty line households by 2022 under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) scheme. And it is on lofty promises like this that people cast their hopeful votes.

“Yes I applied many times (for a house under the PMAY scheme). I voted for them and they won. But I never got a house as promised,” says Arijit to Community Correspondent, Dipti Debsharma. He first submitted an application five years ago, and then again, but his efforts didn’t bring positive results. This year he has not applied as the Panchayat has assured he will get a house.

PMAY is a social welfare programme - which one can say is a rebranding of the Indira Awas Yojana started by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1985 - with the goal of empowering the weakest sections of society through housing that ensures dignity of life.

Arijit manages to earn only enough money to put food on the table, he says, and so cannot afford to tend to his ailing mother or repair his house, leaking in many places. Social welfare schemes are established to support families barely managing to keep themselves from falling through the cracks, and in failing to deliver crucial services, leave citizens socially and economically vulnerable.

According to Ministry of Rural Development data, only 4.05 percent of more than 20 lakh houses authorised in nine states in 2018 have been completed. More specifically, in West Bengal, 5,46,594 houses were sanctioned and only 866 completed, that is, only 0.15 percent.

Arijit’s family has been trying to get a house under  PMAY for five years, and time will tell whether this year that promise is finally fulfilled. If not, then next year before elections, the nation will hear more such promises, and we will continue to bring to you stories of how they remained undelivered.

Support Arijit Debsharma and his family in securing a pucca house under the PMAY scheme by calling the Sarpanch at +91-9593763945 and apprising them of the problem.

Video by Community Correspondent Dipti Debsharma

Article by Shreya Kalra, a member of the VV Editorial Team

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