Andhra hands over 3 lakh houses to poor, all registered in women’s names

Officials claimed it was the largest number of homes to be handed over to beneficiaries in one go in the country.

The Andhra Pradesh government on Thursday handed over more than 3 lakh houses to eligible beneficiaries in 13 districts of the state. A majority of the beneficiaries are BCs, STs and SCs. Significantly, all the houses have been registered in the name of the woman of the family.

Officials claimed it was the largest number of homes to be handed over to beneficiaries in one go in the country.

The government on Thursday handed over keys to 3,03,164 houses, which were constructed in 2017-18 at a cost of Rs 3,746 crore. The housing beneficiaries include 57,296 SCs, 24,332 STs, 1,43,005 BCs and 75,713 other castes.

The houses were built in three categories and measure 200 sq feet to 750 sq feet, said Kalava Srinivasulu, Minister for Rural Housing. They were constructed under the state government’s NTR Housing Scheme, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY NTR-Rural) Scheme and PMAY NTR Urban Housing Scheme.

While the government built houses of minimum 200 sq feet, it made a provision for beneficiaries to take loans and increase their size. Officials said some beneficiaries took loans and opted for bigger houses of up to 750 sq feet. “The government gave the amount to construct a 200 sq feet house, to which some beneficiaries added their own money and built bigger houses,” Srinivasulu said.

The government also gave 5,118 houses to people whose houses were damaged or who were left homeless after the Hudhud cyclone in 2014.

Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu held a symbolic “housewarming” programme at Indira Gandhi municipal stadium in Vijayawada on Thursday morning for all the houses.

Naidu said the state has spent Rs 6,260 crore towards housing from 2014 to 2018, while the Centre allotted Rs 1,296 crore. He said the state government is giving housing as a gift to women to enhance their respect in society.

Since 2014-15, the state government has built and distributed 5,80,849 houses to the rural and the urban poor. On Gandhi Jayanti last year, one lakh houses were handed over. The government has set a target to build 19 lakh houses for rural and urban poor beneficiaries and aims to make the state “hut-free” by 2022.

Rural Housing Minister Kalava Srinivasulu said the government was able to keep the scheme corruption-free and transparent through online payments via National Payments Corporation of India.

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