Finding ground: ‘Conditional’ housing scheme confuses applicants

Published: April 12, 2012

" I received an application form on March 30. What the staff of district govt didn’t tell me was that I was not eligible for the scheme," Resident of Dhamial Muhammad Iqbal.

RAWALPINDI: 

Meant for the low income groups, Jinnah Abadi Housing Scheme, has so far only managed to cause confusion among the locals and government officials alike. The issue has come to light after the district administration started receiving “unwanted applications”, from the people who were not eligible to apply,.

An official while talking to The Express Tribune said that this has resulted in an uncertain situation for thousands of hopeful applicants, after they found the residents of only certain places could benefit from the housing project, meant for low income groups.

“I received an application form on March 30. The staff of the district government noted my name and address in accordance with my national identity card. What they didn’t tell me was that I was not eligible for the scheme,” said Muhammad Iqbal, a resident of Dhamial village in the suburbs of the city.

Only now, the administration has displayed banners outside its offices in the district courts that the housing project was only meant for the residents of union council (UC) Kolian Hameed near Chakri Interchange of Motorway and of UC Bajnial in Gujar Khan, he added.

Over 12,000 application forms were distributed and a large number of the aspirants submitted their applications for the project. The last date for the form reception is June 30.

“I received a form on April 2. There was no mention of any particular area in the application,” said Ayub Khan, a resident of a kachi abadi near Ratta Amral.

The information that only the residents of two UCs in Rawalpindi district can apply for the three marla plots in Jinnah Abadi Housing Scheme had perturbed the thousands of applicants, said an official of district government. He said that when the forms were distributed on March 25, the provincial authorities had not specified the areas or conditions for the housing project. Under this scheme, some 176 plots would be given in Rawalpindi and 300 in Gujar Khan, he added.

Clearing the air, Assistant Commissioner (AC) Zahid Sohail, when contacted, said the projects of Jinnah Abadi had been initiated by Punjab government under Jinnah Abadis Act 1986 promulgated by Muhammad Khan Janejo. Under the law, small plots are to be given to the homeless residents of the same locality, village or UC. The AC said his office continuously kept on informing the applicants that the scheme was not meant for general public but in vain.

He added the applicants including old citizens refused to hear the instructions of the staff on duty or read the banners at different places. He further said the Punjab government had separately demarcated two areas at Adiala Road and near Rawat for Ashyana Housing Scheme for general applicants. Under the Ashyana project, houses will be handed over to the applicants on payment after draw and such a scheme had already been completed in Lahore.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2012.

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