Affordable Housing Remains a Myth for Faizabad’s Urban Poor

20-05-15 Kshetriya Faizabad - DUDA Housing 1 webBachhda Sultanpur, Faizabad. Residents in the Bachhda Sultanpur area of Faizabad have alleged that poor quality construction material is being used to construct houses for the urban poor. Residents also complained that in most cases construction had been ongoing for over 2 years.

A few kilometers from Amaniganj, the main road leads to the small cramped locality of Bachhda Sultanpur. The locality is dotted with under construction houses. ‘In 2012, I had applied for a housing scheme under the District Urban Development Agency. As per the scheme, I deposited an initial instalment of 10,000 rupees. We were supposed to get pucca houses and on completion we had to make another payment of 10,000 rupees. 3 years later, construction is still ongoing,’ alleged Pandit Nand Kishore. ‘All the construction material is being supplied by the administration and it’s apparent that it is of poor quality. They plaster the walls and in a few months, the plaster peels off. How is this house going to be different from where we stayed before this?’

Most residents of the area used to live in mud houses with thatched roofs. ‘It would become an issue during the rains,’ said Sunil. Sanjay, another beneficiary of the scheme informed, ‘Most of the houses here are being constructed since 2012.  The walls in the rooms have started developing cracks. During last year’s monsoon, rainwater flooded the house.’ Construction on Hanuman Prasad’s house was completed in time but, according to him, the ceiling collapsed less than a week later. ‘It was a narrow escape for my family,’ he said. Another resident, Shri Narayan Pandey said that construction of his house started in 2012. ‘I have paid the initial installment but three years later, the house is far from complete. They have only plastered the walls from outside. The flooring has not been touched and is made of mud,’ he said.

The two-room houses to be built under the supervision of DUDA (District Urban Development Agency) additionally include a toilet and a kitchen. According to the scheme, while beneficiaries contribute an amount of 20,000 rupees towards the construction of a pucca house, the district would bear the remaining cost. The Programme Officer for DUDA, Faizabad Mr. Diwakar Yadav said, ‘The implementation of this scheme is being routed through the Jal Nigam. In terms of the quality of material used, the Implementing Agency would have more details.’ When asked about what action DUDA was likely to take regarding the plight of families in Bachhda Sultanpur, he said, ‘This matter had not been brought to my notice. I know that construction of almost 300 of the 1200 houses that were sanctioned by DUDA in Faizabad is still to start. I made an inspection in another area of the town a month back but found no such discrepancies. But now we will look into the matter.’

Officials from the Jal Nigam denied any knowledge of the scheme and later said that the concerned official was not available to comment on the issue.

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