Days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi handed over lakhs of houses to the poor as part of an ambitious government drive, at least 75 homes constructed under the same scheme have gone ‘missing’ in Madhya Pradesh’s Satna.
The houses had been constructed under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana which hosted a virtual ‘grih pravesh‘ ceremony led by PM Modi and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on the occasion of Dhanteras.
The only catch was, many of the 600 houses built by the programme in Satna’s Rahikwara village since 2015 were allotted to the dead and some of the living beneficiaries said they got nothing.
Many of the beneficiaries say they only got their houses on paper.
The state government, which spent crores on the event and newspaper ads to showcase the scheme on Dhanteras, with Prime Minister Modi tuning in from Delhi and Chief Minister Sivraj Singh Chauhan and his ministers in Satna, says 10 teams have been formed to investigate these irregularities.
When contacted, District Collector Anurag Verma said he was in a meeting and Panchayti Raj and Rural Development Minister Mahendra Sisodia said he is at a puja, will respond after that. He is yet to do so.
Later, while talking to journalists in Satna, in a seven-second sound bite, the collector said, “The matter is being investigated, guilty will be punished.”
And it is not just the PM Awas Yojana where a scam seems to be emerging. More than 1,200 toilets were approved in the Rahikwara gram panchayat. But many villagers like Lalman Chaudhary’s family say they never got any toilet and still defecate in the open.
In the PM Awas Yojana scam, a police case was registered against the former sarpanch or village head Balvendra Pratap Singh, the brother of Surendra Pratap Singh, the former president of the BJP’s Satna district unit for two consecutive terms.
With inputs from NDTV