Disengagement of experts delays implementation of Housing For All

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Despite the direction of Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Elevation to the State’s Housing and Urban Development Department to utilize the services of city level technical experts who were appointed under Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) programme for the purpose of smooth and successful implementation of Housing For All, they remain disengaged since October 2015 affecting the project.
Officials told that the disengagement of city level technical experts has resulted in the delay in implementation of ‘Housing for All Mission’ in the J&K State. Already there has been delay in submitting the DPRs and other action plan necessary for the implementation. It must be mentioned here that the HFA project is a time-bound programme. The target for the implementation of first phase is 2017, second is 2019 and third 2022.
The J&K Housing Board (Nodal Agency) for RAY had issued an advertisement in 2013 for the posts of various technical experts/coordinators and in 2014 after short listing of candidates as per the set eligibility criteria for 6 cities selected under Rajiv Awas Yojna project sanctioned by Ministry of Housing and Poverty Elevation. Accordingly, the interviews were conducted in April – May 2014 and finally after a gap of two year, the selection list was released in the month of February 2015 and 20 experts were selected across the State.
The RAY programme which was introduced by United Progressive Alliance (UPA) at Centre in 2013 to provide affordable housing to those sections of the society who are economically poor. The RAY programme was also introduced in six J&K cities including Jammu, Udhampur, Kathua, Srinagar, Anantnag and Baramulla.
Accordingly, the survey was conducted in 2013 by IPE Global (nominated by J&K Housing Board) the DPRs and other action was prepared after the survey report. However, the DPR were not approved by the Union Ministry as well as State-level monitoring committee due to various deficiencies.
To rectify the deficiencies, the sources said, the city-level experts were hired for two years on contract basis and the these experts after attending orientation and other training programmes were deputed to field level to authenticate the genuiness of RAY beneficiaries by obtaining their Permanent Residential Certificates (PRCs) and other valid documents. Besides, the supplementary list as many of the beneficiaries were not included in the previous survey was submitted to the concerned officials.
Subsequently, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June 2015 revamped the RAY into HFA project. The aim of the HFA project was slum rehabilitation of slum dwellers with participation of private developers using land as a resource, promotion of affordable housing for weaker section through credit linked subsidy, affordable housing in partnership with Public and Private sectors and subsidy for beneficiary-led individual house construction or enhancement.
Following the revamp, the 25 cities of Jammu and Kashmir were included in the HFA for first phase including previous 6 cities already identified under RAY. As the data obtained under RAY was considered baseline date for HFA and accordingly the then State government was asked to gear up the process as State Government has already wasted two precious years under RAY programme.
Subsequently on September 17 20015, the Union H&UDD Ministry made a communication to State Government after a meeting of Central Sanctioning-cum-Monitoring Committee for HFA to utilize the services of technical experts engaged under RAY into HFA and also engage the 2-4 professionals/experts for the monitoring, supervision and other pre-project activities, the official sources said.
However, the concerned department reversed the direction of Union Ministry by disengaging the already appointed experts. These experts have not been engaged till date and also other new professionals were not engaged as well. The High Court in Srinagar and Jammu after studying the case stayed the Government disengagement order but the concerned department didn’t engage these technical experts due to unknown reasons while as the staff engaged under RAY are continuing their services in HFA in rest of the country.
Pertinently, the Union Ministry sanctioned vide official communication No N-11027/32/2015-HFA/FTS-13279 dated 03-08-2015 as first installment of finance assistance to the tune of Rs 34.13 crores to Jammu and Kashmir out of Rs 4000 crores (for whole country) for starting of HFA programme in Jammu and Kashmir. The second installment of Rs 146.48 lakhs was released in November 2015 for the preparation of DPRs in selected cities.

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