BJP ridicules Patnaik's letter to PM on Aawas Yojana

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Bhubaneswar, Jul 6 (PTI) Opposition BJP on Tuesday ridiculed Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking opening of the Aawas + Mobile App for one more month for the state so that people of uncovered areas in western and southern regions can apply for house units.

The ruling Biju Janata Dal, on the other hand, termed the BJP's stand on the Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana (Gramin) as a 'conspiracy' to deny house units to the poor and tribal people of western and southern regions.

Patnaik in a letter to the Prime Minister on Monday had urged him to direct the Ministry of Rural Development to open the window of Aawas + mobile App for the entire state for a period of one month to migrate the data of identified eligible households to Aawas +, which will be a pragmatic step towards achieving the objective of 'safe housing for all'.

BJP state general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan, in a press conference here said: 'The demand of the CM is laughable. Even though the eligible beneficiaries could not get their houses geo-tagged, the demand to provide more Aawas houses in non-Fani affected districts is laughable.' Harichandan said the window of Awaas software was open from July 6, 2017 to March 31, 2018. The state government got its first extension till June 30, 2018. In another extension, the window was opened till September 30, 2018 from June 30, 2018, he said.

The window was again extended till March 7, 2019 in two phases only because the Odisha government could not upload all the beneficiary details on time, he said, adding that the state government could upload only 45,903 names of beneficiaries even after so many extensions. 'Is it not surprising,' Harichandan asked.

The BJP leader said that cyclone Fani hit the state in May 2019 following which the Odisha government demanded 3.89 lakh Aawaas houses for the calamity affected people. But after the Aawas window was opened in August 2019, the state government uploaded more than 13 lakh beneficiaries including those from non-Fani affected districts.

However, not a single beneficiary out of the 8.17 lakh home allotments that the Centre had provided for non-Fani affected districts have been distributed till now, he alleged.

He also alleged that the state government has ignored the aspirational districts like Sambalpur, Kalahandi and Nabarangpur in Aawas scheme.

Patnaik in his letter had also urged that about 6 lakh identified eligible households of Odisha be included under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Gramin) for the districts not affected by cyclone Fani which include tribal dominated districts and KBK (Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput) region.

The BJD in a statement also criticized Harichandan and accused him of conspiring against Odisha's move to provide houses to the poor people of western and southern regions.

'The BJP should instead cooperate with the state's move and facilitate people to get the PMAY (G) houses,' the statement issued by BJD spokesperson Lenin Mohanty said. PTI AAM RG RG

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