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Are PMAY beneficiaries using govt money to encroach land? Bulldozer at Haseena Fakhroo’s house in Khargone raises new questions

The house of Haseena Fakhroo in Khargone in MP was demolished because it was built on enecroachewd land using PMAY fund, not for being involved in stone pelting

Recently, the news of Madhya Pradesh Police in Khargone bulldozing a house aided under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) or PMAY in a recently conducted activity against illegal occupation came. The ‘Bulldozing’ technique adopted by the Shivraj Singh Chouhan Government to curtail illegal encroachments in the state has raised quite a few eyebrows.

After the Ram Navami attacks on Hindu processions, On April 11, the Khargone administration took strict action against the miscreants who had pelted stones at the Ram Navami procession on Sunday. The illegally constructed buildings and homes of the perpetrators were bulldozed by the administration. Following this, the reports of demolishing the house of one Haseena Fakhroo came, which was reportedly built under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana or PMAY (Urban).

The media jumped up to highlight that the house made under PMAY was demolished as a consequence of the action against stone-pelting miscreants. A report by The Indian Express categorically mentioned the same. Questions were also raised as to why such a house is being scrutinized which was itself built under a government scheme.

However, it is completely misleading claim, because the house was not demolished because of of the stone pelting incident, it was bulldozed because it was built illegally using the PMAY grant. The administration had already issued advance notice, the the house was demolished accordingly. According to the administration, the house was built on encroached land, and that’s why it was demolished.

The notice sent to owner Haseena Fakroo, which was sent to her on April 7, 2020 – three days prior to the Ram Navami violence, specifically mentions the land upon which the ‘kaccha’ (temporary) house was built was encroached. The notice says that the 30×30 = 900 sq.ft land, upon which Fakhroo’s house was built was occupied without any permission by an officer and is hence encroached. “As it the encroachment by you has been proven, the court has ordered to demolish the illegal construction upon the land,” the notice says.

Notice sent to the owner by Tehsil Court of Khargone, MP

The Tehsil Court further states that after three days from receiving the letter, the house should be freed and this should be informed to the court in writing. The notice states that if the same is not abided by, the administration will take charge of the land in the official ways. After the notice period ended on April 10, the enquiry on Haseena Fakhroo’s house kicked off while the administration decided to demolish the encroached occupation in the form of the house.

Therefore, the demolition of this particular house built using PMAY fund had no link with the houses of stone-pelters which were also demolisged. Both the demolitions just took place at the same time, and media used that to publish false and misleading claims.

However, as pointed out by some, the action on a house that was built under the Central government scheme of PMAY (Urban) has been questioned. While the said individual Haseena has come up with proof of her house being aided by the Centre’s policy scheme, questions have been raised about how can the land upon which a house constructed under a government scheme be termed illegal. To understand this, we need to have an in-depth perspective of what PMAY is in the very first place.

What does the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana entail?

Launched in June 2015, the scheme intends to provide housing for all in urban areas by the year 2022. As per the government website, The Mission provides Central economical assistance to beneficiaries seeking to build houses. The policy entails different rules laid out for different states for land acquisition and design of houses as per the climatology, administrative policies and context of the state. It is to be noted that the PMAY is a decentralised scheme in which the government hands out money to the beneficiaries instead of personally building the houses for them.

Under the Yojana, the government after due inspection of various levels of construction sanctions money to the beneficiaries and is not involved in the actual construction of the houses. In the PMAY guidelines for MP, the rules for sanction of money as per the phased construction are laid out. Money is directly deposited to the bank account of the beneficiary after the beneficiary is listed and after the plinth level, slab level construction is completed, the final money is deposited after the construction process is completed.

The circular specifically rules out that if the beneficiary does not own the land of its own, then the housing department of the local corporation should ascertain a land between 30-40 sq. mt for the same. It also asks for due assurance by the local authority that the land so selected for the house to be built is legally owned by the beneficiary.

While the recent tehsil court has notified that the construction by Haseena Fakhroo is an encroachment, it underlines that the due process of land acquisition under PMAY was not followed by her. Similarly, eleven other homes in the vicinity have attracted the same action. This seems as a clear case of land grabbing, while money is collected from a government scheme for the same.

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Suyash
Suyash
Writer, Architect. Negotiating the Present as a Journalist and the Past as a Historical Researcher. News Geek. Writes on Politics and Policy, Design, Culture and Media.

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