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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Wednesday, 17 August 2022 3.52 PM IST

Do not test the poor

do-not-test-the-poor

The negligence at the official level should be described as cruel in terms of an important project that should benefit the poor who do not own a piece of land or a home. The reference is to the scheme of providing houses to the poor under the Life Mission. The Life Mission project, described as the LDF government's most charitable project, has already built 2.5 lakh houses. It also aims to complete another five lakh houses by the end of the term of this government. As part of that, applications were invited from those eligible for housing. More than nine lakh applications were received in a short span of time. It will take a lot of hard work to build a house for at least half of the people within three years. Unfortunately, the officials are waiting for more than nine lakh applications.

Applications should be scrutinized and a list of eligible candidates should be prepared to proceed to the next steps. The process is relatively fast. It is learned that even after months, only a quarter of the applications have been processed. It was expected to be completed by November 30. Special officers were also deployed. But the department heads were not ready to make available the services of the officials from the agriculture department. This slowed the test. Only agricultural assistants are not responsible. The inspection is being carried out by ICDS Supervisors, VEOs and Panchayat Assistant Secretaries. But things are not going as planned.
They should realize that the overzealousness of some departments to remain a separate empire is delaying a project that will benefit millions. The Minister of the Department or the Chief Minister should have taken steps to complete the examination of the applications. If the Agriculture Department officials are not available, there will be many officials in government departments. Their service could be sought. About six lakh applications have not been examined yet. If this is the case then maybe next year at the end of the year the inspection and listing will not be completed. Those who look forward to the fulfillment of their dream of owning a home of their own are feeling a little sad when the project goes on indefinitely. Of course, the government has an obligation to know that.

Detailed examination will be required to find applicants who meet the criteria. And make sure there are no irregularities. These are time consuming steps. However, arrangements can be made to determine eligibility by examining applications at the district or constituency level. The work of the officers assigned for the inspection will be facilitated as the eligibility criteria will be fixed accurately.

If housing is not completed on time due to rising construction costs, the government will face a huge liability. Already the price of construction materials is thirty or forty per cent higher than it was six months ago. Then where will the project reach if processing of the application itself will take years? If the officers find that there is a shortage of staff, more people should recruited to complete the inspection. The pay commissions and the administrative reform commissions have said that there are thousands of people in some departments sitting without any job. Isn’t it?

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