Thursday, November 22, 2012

Cong drone homes in on Modi’s Gujarat

Floats Housing Scheme To Win Women Voters

Ahmedabad: Thousands of poor voters of Gujarat surged towards Congress camps distributing forms for dirt-cheap urban housing — a promise the Congress has made to women of the state in an attempt to prevent CM Narendra Modi from winning his third successive win in the state.
    The scheme targets lower and lower-middle income groups in the cities and towns of Gujarat and gave a shot in the arm to the jaded Congress, just months away from the assembly elections.
    The Congress has not tasted power in Gujarat for more than two decades and the ‘Ghar Nu Ghar’ scheme was one of the aces it had up its sleeve to halt Modi’s march to Delhi in 2014 as a prime ministerial prospect.
    There was commotion at distribution centres and frayed nerves in the Modi camp when distribution began at 550 camps across Gujarat. The Congress, which marked Rajiv Gandhi’s birthday with this blitzkrieg, has offered houses to be registered in the name of women.
    The BJP reacted by calling ‘Ghar nu Ghar’ a conspiracy to misguide the women voters of Gujarat. “The Congress is in the habit of cheating people,” said party spokesmen I K Jadeja and Mansukh Mandaviya. “In the last LS election, they promised to check inflation within 100 days and look where we are today,” Jadeja said.
    Housing for urban poor was a hallmark of previous Congress governments when the Gujarat Housing Board constructed precisely 1,76,830 homes in the 1970s and 1980s.

Once the BJP came to power,the GHB went defunct and housing was a subject left to the builders.

    Roughly translated,it means own your house.It is of course a matter of pride for any family who doesnt have a house they can call their own.The Census of 2011 showed there were 3.31 lakh homeless families and another 16.5 lakh living in rented accommodation in Gujarat.The scheme,meant for only women and integrated with centrally-sponsored schemes for urban poor,has three categories.It has a low down payment and easy instalments spread over 15 years.

Category A |
A 278 room-kitchen-toilet on down payment of 70,000

Category B | 1 BHK of 543 sq.ft.on payment of 100,000

Category C | 2 BHK of 857 sq.ft.on payment of 1,80,000

Trouble for BJP on home front!
    The BJP had initially reacted with scorn at the Congress scheme Ghar nu Ghar.Even chief minister Narendra Modi had brushed it aside stating that this was the brainchild of fly-by-night operators.But when the Congress launched the scheme on August 2,on the occasion of Rakshabandhan,nearly one lakh forms were distributed to women from the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee office in Ahmedabad and nine other centres across Gujarat.
    The BJP had to sit up and take notice now.Former urban development minister I K Jadeja,now party spokesman,came with an announcement that the BJP will build 2.5 lakh houses for urban poor,once voted back to power.Questions were also raised by the BJP on where the Congress would get land for building these lakhs of houses.Congress campaign committee chief Shankersinh Vaghela had retorted that he would seize all the benami land held by BJP leaders and also take back land gifted to large industrial houses.

Times View
    The Congress has finally managed an emotional connect with the people of Gujarat with the Ghar nu Ghar scheme.But it is after all an election promise and there is a massive gulf between the cup and the lip.What the Congress scheme has shown is that there is a massive demand for affordable housing in the state.The BJP has to explain why it has turned the Gujarat Housing Board,which built nearly 1.75 lakh affordable homes during previous Congress regimes,into a defunct entity.The GHB has to be revived and turned into the main agency to cater to the housing needs of those left without a dream home in this builder-driven set-up.