Although the scheme was undertaken by the erstwhile government, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee increased the funds by around Rs 50,000 per dwelling
arunima ghosh
KOLKATA, 8 JUNE: The state government’s much-publicised Gitanjali housing project for the poor has been stalled in Junglemahal following dearth of funds. 
Although the scheme for constructing houses for the poor was undertaken by the erstwhile government, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee increased the funds by around Rs 50,000 per dwelling since the earlier amount was considered inadequate. The aid for setting up each house was increased from Rs 1.16 lakh to Rs 1.67 lakh. This apart, the name of the scheme was also changed from "Amar Bari" to "Gitanjali".
To begin with, the government announced setting up around 7,600 houses for the poor in five districts of Birbhum, Bankura, Burdwan, Purulia and West Midnapore. Soon after the state housing department sanctioned 50 per cent of the total amount to the Paschimanchal Unnayan Affairs Department, which in turn distributed the money to the respective five district magistrates for undertaking the work. However, the construction work has halted mid-way because the housing department is yet to sanction the remaining 50 per cent of the funds.
According to sources in the Paschimanchal Unnayan Affairs Department, this will be the first set of houses that will be constructed with the enhanced aid.
So long, getting bidders had been the major hurdle in implementation of projects in the Maoist-hit region but now delay of funds has stalled work.
Under the scheme, the government provides funds for constructing a two-room house provided the beneficiary owns a plot. A person belonging to Below Poverty Line list (BPL) and possessing even a cottah of land can apply for the scheme. However, the provision of constructing an attached bathroom has been ruled out because the areas are drought-prone and availability of water is a serious problem, said an official.
The requisition for constructing houses under the Gitanjali project is routed through the block development officers of the districts.
The state government recently announced a new scheme for constructing houses for the poor who did not find their names in the BPL list in the
11 backward districts with funds provided by
the Centre under the Backward Region Grant Fund.