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'No Understanding Of PMAY Scheme': Mehbooba vs J&K Govt Over Land For The Homeless

Jammu and Kashmir former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti hit out at the state government over land allotment to homeless people in the state.

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Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti
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Days after the Jammu and Kashmir government approved a proposal for allotment of land to landless people, former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti accused the government of trying to import ten lakh people to Jammu and Kashmir in the name of the house for the houseless. The J&K government says the former Chief Minister's statements are factually incorrect and has no understanding of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana scheme.

Mehbooba on land for landless

“Who are these landless people? Who are these houseless people? There is no count of these houseless people. I have heard they have already started calling journalists not to talk about it. They have also threatened young boys and girls writing on social media. The government was talking about investment will come from outside. And instead of investment, they have started importing slums to J&K from outside,” the former chief minister alleged during a press conference here on Wednesday. She alleged that the government intends to import ten lakh people from outside in the name of houses for the houseless.

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Mehbooba alleged that Lt Governor Manoj Sinha's statement about land for the landless has created confusion. She said that under the government data of 2021, only 19,047 persons are landless in Jammu and Kashmir. “When Lt Governor Manoj Sinha says he is giving houses to two lakh people and has sanctioned the houses for 1.45 lakh already, it means if five members are in each family, the number will be 10 lakhs,” she alleged.

“Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 is being treated as war bounty. In the old times after the war between the two countries, the people and land of the defeated nation were treated by conquered as a bounty. In the same manner, after the abrogation of Article 370, our land and our resources are being treated as bounty,” Mehbooba added

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She said that Jammu and Kashmir is a green belt and they want to convert it into a slum. “This deluge will come to Jammu first and then it will drown Kashmir."

Mehbooba opined through such steps the government is pushing people to the wall turning Jammu and Kashmir into refugee land. “Why you are after our land? We will not allow this to happen. Both Jammu and Kashmir will resist it,” Mehbooba said.

PDP raises questions 

Mehbooba Mufti's People’s Democratic Party (PDP) while taking note of the prompt clarification by the government about housing for the poor,  said, the main question of a sharp jump in numbers of homeless ‘people’ from 19047 in 2021 to nearly 2lac ‘households’ remains unaddressed. 

"PMAY has been in operation for decades in the state under different titles and a procedure has been in place which always was monitored by GOI itself from identification to the execution levels," the PDP said.

"The assistance would be given generally to the poorest landholders and in case of people without land, there was a process in place to allot them land out of the community lands like Kahcharai, state land, Khalisa etc. The claim that 2 lac identified households still remain homeless raises doubts about the sharp increase. Either the exercise is flawed or the intentions are suspect," the party said.

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The spokesman said the latest announcement made at the highest level comes close on the heels of the allotment of tenements to non-local workers in Jammu. "Does any state in the country reciprocate this for thousands of workers, hawkers, and small vendors who move to plains during winters? It is, therefore, necessary for the government to come out with a detailed clarification on the process of identification of beneficiaries.

Govt says Mehbooba has no understanding of PMAY

On July 3,  the government of Jammu Kashmir said it approved a proposal for the allotment of 5 marlas of land each to landless PMAY (G) beneficiaries. The government noted that the decision was taken by the administrative council on June 21, 2023. “The present allotment is restricted to only the left out cases out of the permanent waiting list (PWL) 2018-19, which may later, at the time of the launch of the next phase of the PMAY(G) scheme in 2024-25 be extended to the same categories of landless beneficiaries, who otherwise become eligible for getting housing assistance under PMAY(G) Phase-III,” the government had said.

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According to the government, people residing on state land, people residing on forest land, and any other category of cases who are otherwise eligible for housing but do not have any land available for construction will be considered.

Soon after the former Chief Minister’s press conference, the government issued a press statement through the information department saying Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Grameen) phase -1 started on April 4, 2016, by the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India under the housing for all by 2022 commitment of the government of India.

The government said in Jammu and Kashmir 2,57,349 houseless cases were identified in J&K in accordance with the Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) of 2011. The government said after due verification by Gram sabhas 1,36,152 cases were sanctioned for J&K.

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Per unit assistance of 1.30 lakhs is provided per house by the government of India under the scheme. The minimum size of the house prescribed is 1 marla, the government added.

The government further claimed that it conducted a survey from January 2018 to March 2019 to identify those beneficiaries who claimed to have been left out under the 2011 SECC. The data of beneficiaries captured through the survey was utilized to fill the gaps between the overall target and eligible beneficiaries made available from SECC Permanent Wait List (PWL).

“PMAY PHASE-II(AWAS Plus) Grameen started from 2019 onwards based on a survey of 2018-19, (done pan India), in which 2.65 Lakhs houseless cases were recorded in J&K and only a target of 63426 houses was given to J&K. These houses have been sanctioned in 2022 only,” the government said. “This phase of the scheme is getting over on March 31, 2024,” the government added.

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Based on the "good performance of J&K in sanction and completion of houses", on May 30, 2023, 1,99,550 more PMAY AWAS PLUS houses have been sanctioned as a special dispensation to ensure housing for 2.65 lakhs houseless persons, who were part of PWL 2019.

The government said there are 2,711 cases that are part of the 2018-19 provisional waiting list of houseless persons of J&K and they were debarred from having a house as either they didn’t have land or the land they have is a state, forest, any other category of land where construction is not permitted.

“As government cannot sanction houses to those who don’t have land, therefore in order to ensure housing for all, the government has taken a policy decision to allot 5 marlas of land to 2711 cases so that they can get houses. This is indicative of the government’s commitment to the poor. Therefore the statement of Ms. Mehbooba Mufti that, the government is allotting land to 2 lakh odd persons is factually incorrect and all statements made by her are without having any understanding of the PMAY scheme,” the government said.

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