During the last seven years, just 7% of the 72 housing projects, sanctioned under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) for the urban poor, were completed in Gujarat, said a report from the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).
Of the total housing projects worth over Rs 2,500 crore sanctioned under JNNURM between 2005-12 in Gujarat, 45 projects (worth over Rs 530 crore) were under Integrated Housing and Slum Development Programme (IHSDP) and 27 projects (worth over Rs 2,000 crore) were under the Basic Services to the Urban Poor (BSUP).
“Out of the 72 housing projects sanctioned (consisting of over 1.46 lakh dwelling units or houses), only five projects were completed, six were abandoned and 26 projects were not even started,” stated CAG in its latest report on Local Bodies that was tabled in the Gujarat State Legislative Assembly.
The rap from CAG comes at a time when the state government has promised to build 50 lakh affordable homes - including those for urban and rural poor - within a five-year period.
These 72 projects were undertaken under BSUP in cities of Ahmedabad, Porbandar, Rajkot, Surat and Vadodara and under IHSDP in other cities with the objective of providing housing to urban poor with basic infrastructure amenities.
“Despite the availability of funds, housing projects with an estimated cost of Rs 155 crore of Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) and housing projects with estimated cost of Rs 53 crore of Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) were not taken up due to non-availability of land and transit accommodation,” states the report. SMC also could not complete 1,776 houses after incurring an expenditure of Rs 6.72 crore due to non-availability of clear titles of land.
The auditor also noticed cost over-runs of Rs 37 crore and loss of an additional Rs 12 crore as central assistance due to “deficient planning” in these housing projects in Vadodara, Surat and Ahmedabad. In Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) and Jamnagar Municipal Corporation, work orders were awarded to the second lowest bidders. AMC also incurred an “avoidable expenditure” of Rs 3.25 crore due to “injudicious rejection” of tenders.
CAG also found flaws in the implementation of urban reforms in Gujarat. “Earmarking at least 20-25% of developed land in all housing projects for Economical Weaker Sections/Low Income Group was not done,” the report stated.
When pointed out, the state government in its reply stated that “it was difficult to earmark 20-25% land for urban poor, however,