Bhopal- "We have been living here for the last 20 years. There is a problem with water and electricity in our colony. There are power cuts during the day, and electricity is available only at night. There are no toilets in any of the houses. For many years, it had been told that everyone will get permanent houses. But nothing has happened till now; we do not trust the promises of the government."
This pain is felt by Mohammad Qasim, a resident of Vishwakarma Nagar slum in Bhopal. The situation is similar throughout the entire slum. It is very difficult to stay here due to the pile of filth all around and the bad smell. But more than a thousand families are living their lives in such conditions.
Despite assurances of permanent housing, these families remain trapped in a cycle of uncertainty, their faith in governmental promises dwindling with each passing year. The envisioned goal of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, initiated in 2015, aimed to provide every urban and rural poor family with a permanent dwelling by 2023. However, the stark reality is far from this aspiration, with countless families in Madhya Pradesh still languishing in slums and makeshift shelters.
There are about two dozen slums in the capital Bhopal, but the residents here have not been able to get permanent houses. The team of The Mooknayak reached the slums of the city where people are struggling with many problems.
More than a thousand families have been living in Vishwakarma Nagar slum of Bhopal for the last 20 years. These families are finding it difficult to live in small kutcha rooms. While talking to The Mooknayak, Jyoti Pandit, a resident of this place, said that she is troubled by water, electricity, and the filth spread around here. Jyoti said that there are so many small houses here that it becomes difficult for the family to survive.
There are no toilet facilities available in the slums of Bhopal. Residents rely on public toilets, for which they must pay a monthly fee of Rs 80. However, the filth and unsanitary conditions in these public facilities pose significant challenges. Jyoti mentioned that if children need to use the toilet at night, they have to trek to the nearby Rani Kamalapati railway station, as the public toilets close at 9 pm.
Another resident, expressed the ongoing struggles his family faces due to the pervasive filth in the colony. Despite residing in Vishwakarma Nagar slum for the past 20 years, he has not been able to secure a permanent house.
Bhopal is home to about two dozen slums, many of which have existed for 20 to 30 years. Additionally, new slums are emerging in the Bagmugalia area. While some slum families have been relocated to multi-storey buildings by the Municipal Corporation, the quality of construction leaves much to be desired. The Indra Nagar Multi, completed in 2015, is already showing signs of deterioration, with cement falling off in various places.
During discussions with The Mooknayak, Santoshi, a resident of Indra Nagar Multi, highlighted the neglect by the corporation in maintaining cleanliness. Despite repeated complaints about water leakage over the past six months, municipal officials have turned a deaf ear, leaving residents feeling marginalized and discriminated against.
While the slum dwellers continue their struggle for a dignified life, on the other hand comes, the government's recent pledge to construct two crore new houses for impoverished families living in rural areas. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made this announcement during her interim budget speech in the Lok Sabha, emphasizing permanent housing for the underprivileged while also stimulating growth in the construction sector and generating employment opportunities in rural regions.
Under the expanded scope of the PM Awas Yojana (Rural), last year's budget saw a substantial increase in allocation, with the Finance Minister allocating Rs 79,000 crore, a 66% rise from previous budgets. The target for the current fiscal year is the construction of 2.95 crore houses for the needy by March 31, 2024, with an additional goal of building two crore new houses in rural areas over the next five years.
To avail the benefits of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, individuals must adhere to the rules set forth by the scheme. Eligibility for the scheme is determined based on annual income brackets:
Economically Weaker Section (EWS): Annual income between Rs 3 lakh to Rs 6 lakh.
Lower Income Group (LIG): Annual income between Rs 6 lakh to Rs 12 lakh.
Middle Income Group 1 (MIG1): Annual income between Rs 6 lakh to Rs 12 lakh.
Middle Income Group 2 (MIG2): Annual income between Rs 12 lakh to Rs 18 lakh.
Once eligibility is confirmed, individuals can apply for benefits according to their income category. The subsidy rates are as follows:
For those with an annual income up to Rs 6 lakh, a credit-linked subsidy of 6.5 percent is available on loans up to Rs 6 lakh.
Individuals with an annual income up to Rs 12 lakh are eligible for a 4 percent interest subsidy on loans up to Rs 9 lakh.
Those with an annual income up to Rs 18 lakh can avail a 3 percent interest subsidy on loans up to Rs 12 lakh.
By meeting the income criteria and adhering to the specified subsidy rates, eligible individuals can access the benefits of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and realize their dream of owning a home.