By Our Reporter
SHILLONG: Continuous interference by over enthusiastic NGOs has dealt a death blow to the low cost housing unit project under the Centrally-sponsored JNNURM Basic Services to the Urban Poor (BSUP) scheme at Nongmynsong.
Sources on Monday informed that the project has been dormant for the past eight months after the implementing agency, Hindustan Prefab Limited (HPL) decided to abandon it citing shortage of manpower.
“The NGOs from time to time threatened and harassed labourers working in the project site in the pretext of checking documents. In fact, even the labourers who possessed all the legal documents including the work permit refused to stay due to the fear of the NGOs,” sources informed.
It has been brought to notice that the firm was facing difficulties in meeting the capacity of required labour force since labourers who were brought from outside the State would leave within a span of one or two weeks due to fear of the NGOs.
Sources informed that the firm had in fact, approached the NGOs to provide labourers so that locals could be employed in the project but even the NGOs could not bring labourers to work. Left with no option, the firm decided to abandon the project since the Government too, failed to intervene in the matter.
Meanwhile, sources said that the firm brought labourers only to complete the 96 dwelling units which were launched by Urban Affairs Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh ahead of the Assembly poll in February this year.
The first 96 dwelling units of a total of 600 proposed units at Nongmynsong, constructed so far, have housed 64 BPL families from Nongmynsong and 32 from Pynthorbah.
The scheme was sanctioned in 2007 at an estimated cost of Rs 30.44 crore for construction of 600 dwelling units in two phases.
Earlier, Urban Affairs Minister informed that a total amount of Rs 13.76 crore has been earmarked for construction of the 300 dwelling units in Phase I while an amount of Rs 16.68 crore would be utilised for the remaining 300 units under Phase II.
She informed that a total amount of Rs 20.91 crore has been utilised so far for construction of the dwelling units, while adding that the beneficiaries would be able to claim ownership of the dwelling unit allotted to them once they fulfill the various formalities including payment of a nominal amount of Rs 32,500.
“We would give them 60 months time to pay the whole amount. The beneficiaries would have to pay Rs 500 every month,” Ampareen informed.
Lyngdoh informed that another 96 dwelling units was expected to be completed within March 2013.
The original deadline for completion of the two phases was August 2009 and January 2010 respectively. Ampareen, while explaining the delay said that completion of the project was not possible, due to the initial objection from the local people and also due to procedural delays.
The progress of the work was also hampered due to the low strength of labourers engaged in the construction.
Ampareen informed that the Dorbar Shnong of Nongmynsong has agreed to arrange for labourers. “Once the labour force improves, work on the project will speed up,” she stated.