Several municipalities in south Bengal have launched awareness campaigns to spread the word that beneficiaries under government housing schemes need to deposit Rs 25,000 as their own share apart from the money given by the state and central governments.
Sources said the campaign was launched after a section of beneficiaries started accusing councillors, because of lack of awareness, of taking Rs 25,000 as cut money.
In several areas like Bolpur in Birbhum, Arambagh in Hooghly and Katwa in East Burdwan, beneficiaries had demonstrated in front of Trinamul offices and party councillors’ homes, accusing them of taking cut money.
The civic bodies have put up banners explaining the shares of individuals, the state and central governments.
A section of Trinamul leaders said party-led civic bodies have been asked to highlight the fact that the share of state is higher than the Centre’s in the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY). In urban areas, the Centre provides Rs 1.5 lakh and the state Rs 1.93 lakh.
Officials said there is a difference between the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana in rural and urban areas. In rural areas, the beneficiaries get Rs 1.20 lakh to build houses and don’t need to deposit any money from their own pockets.
“But in case of the same project in urban areas, the total allotment for a house is Rs 3.68 lakh, including the Rs 25,000 that beneficiaries must pay. But when the cut-money row began, many beneficiaries started protesting and saying they had to give Rs 25,000 as cut money,” an official in Birbhum said.
In June this year, some residents of Jambuni area of Bolpur town had gheraoed the local Trinamul office and accused leaders of taking Rs 25,000 under the PMAY scheme.
“It was very embarrassing for us. People thought the amount of Rs 25,000 was taken by either the councillor or party leaders. So, we have put up posters and banners for the beneficiaries,” said Sushanta Bhakat, the chairman of Trinamul-run Bolpur municipality.
The Rampurhat municipality has ordered 200 banners for the awareness campaign. Aswini Tewari, the chairman of Rampurhat municipality said, “The banners will be put up all over town.”
In Hooghly, Arambagh civic chief Swapan Nandy said he had launched a similar drive to spread information on the scheme’s rules.