Millennium Post

Since 2008, over 29,000 EWS flats lying vacant

NEW DELHI: Almost a decade has passed, but the 29,223 flats constructed in the national Capital under the Rajeev Ratan Awas Yojana – a housing scheme for the economically weaker sections (EWS) – have been lying vacant since 2008 and have fallen into disrepair.
This is because the Delhi Slum and Jhuggi Jhopri Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy, 2015, passed by the Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government, has not yet been notified and remains caught up in the Centre-state stand-off.
The erstwhile Sheila Dikshit-led Congress government had introduced the Rajeev Ratan Awas scheme to allot low-cost flats to the EWS population.
However, it was scrapped as less than 45 per cent of the total slum dwellers in the city had applied.
From the Union Housing Ministry's promise to make Delhi slum-free by 2022, to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's pre-2015 poll slogan 'Jahan Jhuggi, Wahan Makaan', affordable housing for the poor has been on the agenda of all political parties.
However, the failure of successive governments to formulate a uniform resettlement policy and reluctance of slum dwellers to shift to faraway places over livelihood concerns have ensured that finding a solution to resettlement of slum dwellers in the Capital remains an elusive quest.
The Congress-led Sheila Dikshit government had invited tenders before the Delhi Assembly elections in 2008 and had received 1.5 lakhs of applications over the years.
Dikshit's Cabinet had approved the criteria of equal sharing of the expenditure of construction of houses between the government and beneficiaries. The beneficiaries would have to contribute Rs 60,000 each, while the rest would be borne by the city and Central government.
As per the plan, the share of Scheduled Caste beneficiaries was to be borne by the Delhi SC/ST/OBC/Minorities Development Corporations, resulting in SC allottees getting the flats for free.
However, the Aam Aadmi Party government did not announce for allotment of vacant flats.
During the President's rule in Delhi between February 17, 2014, and January 31, 2015, Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung had sanctioned around Rs 6 crore for repairing works all rickety flats.
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