Hyderabad: The Congress party on Friday demanded that the Telangana Government first complete the construction of double bed room houses for poor before constructing new buildings for Secretariat and Assembly.
“Nearly 10,000 housing units for poor families or two buildings for the comfort of just 160 legislators: The choice is clear. In a democracy, addressing the needs of poor people is more important than providing comfort to legislators, who are people’s servants,”
Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) Official Spokesperson Syed Nizamuddin said while addressing a press conference at Gandhi Bhavan on Friday.
Syed Nizamuddin informed that of 2,80,616 sanctioned double bedroom houses for poor in 31 districts, only 16,370 units have been completed so far. While a few thousand more units are in different stages of construction, work was not even started in a majority of sites due to lack of funds. “More than 22 lakh families in Telangana do not own a house.
They are living in rented houses, huts or dwellings. The State Government is unable to deliver promised and sanctioned 2.80 lakh double bed room houses for want of funds. Under this scenario, it is nothing but waste of public money to go construction of new buildings for Assembly and Secretariat,” he said.
The Congress leader said that Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao has tried to weaken the opposition by purchasing some greedy MLAs only to ensure that no one objects to his insane and autocratic decision.
However, he said that the Congress party would strongly oppose the wasteful expenditure of public money, irrespective of its numbers in the Assembly and Council. “Strength does not come from numbers, but from conviction and commitment towards people.
Congress party is committed for the welfare of poor and it would raise its voice under all circumstance,” he said.
Syed Nizamuddin pointed out the cost for each unit of a double bedroom house was originally estimated to be Rs. 3.5 lakh in 2014. It escalated to Rs. 7.5 lakh by 2017. If delayed further, the cost will again go up and it would become unviable for the government to complete them.
He also reminded that in April 2018, the then Municipal Administration Minister K. T. Ramarao had promised that besides sanctioned 2.80 lakh houses, another three lakh houses would be constructed by spending Rs. 18,000 crore. However, he said no budgetary provisions were made either to complete the sanctioned units or the proposed ones.
“The State Government must decide whether comfortable seating or other facilities for 120 MLAs and 40 MLCs are important or providing a roof to nearly 10,000 poor families is more important.
With the same Rs. 100 crore, proposed to be spent for the new Assembly, nearly 1300-1500 double room units can be constructed with an average cost of Rs. 7-7.5 lakh per unit. Similarly, instead of wasting Rs. 500 crore on the new Secretariat building, same money can be used to construct nearly 6,000-7,000 2BHK units,” he said.
The Congress leader said that the TRS Govt has already wasted nearly Rs. 500 crore on Pragathi Bhavan, Chief Minister’s official residence and another Rs. 200 crore on new MLA quarters.
He said that the Chief Minister must stop thinking like a King who can spend money from State’s Exchequer at his will. “This is tax payers’ money and each penny should be used judiciously,” he said.
Stating that the Congress party was not against having a modern building for Secretariat and Assembly, he said they should not be taken up by neglecting the needs of poor and homeless people.
Syed Nizamuddin announced that the Congress party would launch a massive campaign “Housing for Poor First – Secretariat, Assembly Next”.
He said that the Congress party was planning to observe ‘Day for the Homeless’ on June 27, the day when the Chief Minister is laying foundation stone for new Secretariat and Assembly buildings. He said further details on agitation would be shared after getting approval from the party High Command.
He said all applicants of weaker section housing scheme would be involved in the agitation which would last till everyone gets a house.
Hyderabad City Congress Committee (HCCC) Minorities Department Chairman Sameer Waliullah and TPCC Secretary K. Srinivas were also present in the press conference. (INN)