‘Shinde scuttled houses for poor’

‘Shinde scuttled houses for poor’


Former Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and his daughter Praniti tried to scuttle a pilot project for subsidised housing for the poor, in Solapur, Maharashtra, a CPM leader has claimed. The project was sanctioned on 31 May 2013 by the then Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh under the Rajiv Awas Yojana. These allegations have been made by Narsayya Adam, a leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) based in Solapur.

"The UPA government sanctioned a subsidy of 50% for 4,064 out of 30,000 houses in the project on 31 May 2013, as a pilot, under the Rajiv Awas Yojana. The Centre forwarded the project to the state government on 14 June 2013 asking it to grant further subsidies, based on the state's rules. But Shinde, who was the Union Home Minister, and Praniti, who was the local MLA, put pressure on the then Chief Minister, Prithviraj Chavan to stall the project" said Adam, who was spearheading the project. The CM did not sign on the grant of subsidy proposal and the papers of the project are in the Chief Minister's Office since July 2013.

The CPM leader claims that Shinde did this so that Adam, who contested the Maharashtra Assembly elections against Praniti, would not get the credit for the same among voters. Praniti won the Solapur City Central seat. Adam adds that the present Devendra Fadnavis government has promised to look into the project.

In response to Adam's charge, Prakash Yelgulwar, the Congress' Solapur unit chief, alleged that Adam's housing project is a fraud and Rs 25-30 cr have been collected from poor workers, who have been kept in the dark about the details of the project. "We have appealed to the collector of Solapur to investigate the transactions. We demand to know how many people have paid how much money, and why land has not been purchased for the project," Yelgulwar said.

Praniti Shinde led a march on 14 November demanding that Adam return the workers' money deposited for the housing scheme.

Adam claimed that he was astonished as to how the Shindes suddenly found the project to be "bogus", when the 10,000 houses, under a similar project (Godutai Parulekar housing project) that he spearheaded, were completed and handed over to residents of the Kumbhari village in September 2006. "The then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had visited Solapur to inaugurate the project," Adam said. Now, another 2,000 completed houses will be handed over to women beedi workers under the Comrade Meenakshi Sane project in May 2015. "Why the Shindes would want the project of 30,000 houses stalled fails me. Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar helped us to meet with the CM in Mumbai on 20 July 2013. The CM verbally assured us that he would grant a subsidy of 25% for the project. When Sushilkumar Shinde got wind of this, he pressurised the CM to delay sanction and the project is still in limbo," Adam said.

Adam refuted Yelgulwar's claims that he cheated the workers into investing in fraudulent project. "This housing project is a registered society. The total cost of the project is estimated at Rs 2,000 cr. We have collected Rs 35 cr from workers; 90% of this money has been used to buy land in the Kumbhari village; the rest is in the bank," he said.

Tukaram Mundhe, the district collector of Solapur said he has asked the deputy district registrar to look into the matter. "Both the Congress and CPM have approached me with this matter. I am waiting for the registrar to revert whether this project is private or cooperative and if it falls under our jurisdiction," Mundhe said.

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