KATHMANDU: The most hyped housing program popularly known as ‘People’s Housing Program’ has turned out to be a sluggish project accomplishing 30 percent construction in 11 years of the project period.
Under this ‘ambitious’ program merely 21,000 houses have been constructed in 11 years.
In the meantime, to complete 30.42 percent of the target 31.54 percent of the total program budget has been spent.
According to the Department of Urban Development and Building Construction (DUDBC), although a total of 55,970 houses had got the approval, 35,507 are yet to be constructed.
With the objective of providing houses to the homeless, Madhav Kumar Nepal led government had launched the People’s Housing Program in 2009/10.
The program was started with the objective of constructing one thousand houses in Siraha, Saptari and Kapilvastu each, especially targeting the disadvantaged community including Dom, Musahar, Dusadh, Khatwe and other poor Muslims in these districts. It aimed to provide modern housing to 3,000 families at low cost.
Surendra Mohan Shrestha, Deputy Director General of the Housing Division of the DUDBC informed that the government started the program providing Rs. 100,000 to each household for the construction of the house. Now the government has increased the budget to Rs. 300,000 for the construction of the house.
Under this program, the government supports to get a single storied house with three rooms in it. The first installment reaches the beneficiary’s account after digging the foundation, the second installment after installing windows and squares and the third installment after roofing the house.
Province 2 has the lowest achievement record
According to the DUDBC statistics, 17,029 houses were constructed across the country from the fiscal year 2009/10 to 2017/18.
Based on the target, the construction work is only 30 percent. The government had given approval for the construction of 55,970 houses during the period.
In terms of number, most houses have been built in Province 2. However, on the basis of percentage record, this province saw the lowest construction. Bagmati province has got the highest percentage of construction in this period.
The statistics shows that 3981 houses have been built in Province 2. The province had got the approval for the construction of 20804 houses. In this regard, only 19 percent work has been completed in Province 2.
On the other hand, out of 4,361 houses approved for construction in Bagmati Province, 2,128 have been built. This is about 49 percent construction.
Similarly, out of 3,829 houses approved for construction in Gandaki Province, only 1,329 have been built. This is about 35 percent construction.
Lumbini Province fared better than Gandaki. Of the 9,735 houses sanctioned in Lumbini, 41 percent or 3,979 houses have been built.
Likewise, of the 5,508 houses approved for construction in Karnali, 25 percent or 1,379 houses have been completed. The Far Western Province has so far constructed 1,679 houses. It had got the approval for 4,197 houses. This construction is 40 percent.
The department does not have the details of how many houses have been added since the fiscal year 2018/19. According to Deputy Director General Shrestha, the province governments have not provided the data.
Out of Rs 18 billion hardly 5.6 billion spent
The People’s Housing Program gets budget allocated every year, however, in comparison to the budget allocated there is a sluggish progress in construction itself.
According to the department, out of Rs 17.90 billion budget allocated for the program, only Rs 5.64 billion has been spent.
The government allocated Rs 303 million in FY 2009/10, 287.2 million in FY 2010/11, 334.4 million in FY 2011/12 and 166.7 million in FY 2012/13.
Similarly, the allocated budget was 153.1 million in FY 2013/14, and 267.1 million in FY 2014/15.
The budget for the program was increased to Rs 293 million in FY 2015/16, and 1.81 billion in FY 2016/17.
Likewise, FY 2017/18 and 2018/19 got Rs 3.27 billion and 4.35 billion respectively. The allocation for FY 2019/20, was Rs. 4.40 billion which has been brought down to Rs. 2.5 billion in the current Fiscal Year 2020/21.
In the eleven years of program period, less than a third of the budget has been spent and the construction progress is also less than a third.
Deputy Director General Shrestha thinks it vital to inform the people about the objective of the program and the procedure a beneficiary has to comply with to be benefited from the program.
“The delay in the construction is due to the fact that the beneficiaries did not understand the process and there was no monitoring from the province level after the program reached to the province level,” Shrestha told Khabarhub.
Transfer to state government
According to Deputy Director General Shrestha, the People’s Housing Program has been handed over to the concerned province with certain conditions. The program was handed over to the province government in FY 2018/19.
“The government approved the ‘Implementation of the People’s Housing Program, 2018,’ on December 24, 2018,” he told Khabarhub, adding, “After that, the sample procedure has been sent to all seven provinces.”
Even after the transfer of the Program from the Federal government to the Province government, the government has allocated Rs 11.26 billion for the program.
It is reported that 4424 houses have been built at the province government’s initiation.
Although 38,931 houses of 74 districts got approval for the construction in FY 2018/19, the province governments managed to build only 2024 houses.
Similarly, 36,900 houses of 74 districts got approval for the construction in FY 2019/20, but only 2,400 were completed.