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- Gujarat Housing Board lacks expertise to execute Ghar nu Ghar scheme: Cong
VADODARA: The Gujarat Housing Board (GHB) that built thousands of houses during Congress party's regime in the state may not get its glorious days back even if Congress comes to power. The party feels that GHB no longer has the ability and infrastructure to execute big projects like constructing houses in all cities of Gujarat. Senior Congress leader Siddharth Patel said a new system may be introduced to handle the Ghar nu Ghar project proposed by the Congress.
The main opposition party in Gujarat has promised houses at low cost to people if it is voted to power in assembly polls later this year. Lakhs of women across the state queued up to collect registration forms distributed by the party in all major cities over last few days. "We want to provide affordable homes to citizens in all areas. But we won't involve GHB in the project. The GHB has become a defunct entity now," Patel told TOI.
"Earlier, GHB had hundreds of employees and expertise for constructing low cost homes. But in last one decade, the BJP has systematically wiped out the entity. The GHB now has only 70 employees and can't handle such project," Patel explained. He added the Congress, if voted to power, wants to build modern houses that suit needs of people.
"We need to have an entirely new system for constructing low-cost but quality houses for lakhs of people. It can't be done in a centralized manner. Also, we won't be using money from government's coffers for executing the project. It will be a self-financed scheme where the government will give land for free and people would pay for just construction cost," Patel, who was in the city on Tuesday to announce fifth poll agenda of Congress, said.
Senior Congress leader and minister of state for railways Bharatsinh Solanki said the Ghar nu Ghar scheme is not a poll gimmick and his party is committed to its promise. "The scheme will have legal sanctions and we have chalked out a complete plan to execute it," Solanki said.
The party announced its plans to secure health of citizens by providing 250 life-saving drugs for free and making generic drugs available in government hospitals. Solanki also said it would introduce Gujarat Medical Services Corporation in the state if voted to power.
Bharatsinh Solanki said the BJP has become frustrated with the massive response to Congress' Ghar nu Ghar scheme. "BJP has panicked and is afraid as it fears that its urban voters are tilting towards Congress. BJP also played a cruel joke on people by saying that registration forms for low cost houses will be distributed at GHB offices. But when people lined up for the forms, the GHB told them that no such forms are available and instead the cops lathi-charged people," Solanki said. He added that BJP was indulging in poll gimmicks.
Gujarat Housing Board lacks expertise to execute Ghar nu Ghar scheme: Cong - The Times of IndiaCommentQuote0Flag
- All agriculture land deeds to be video recorded from today
VADODARA: In view of the increasing number of cases arising out of agriculture land deeds and power of attorney agreements, Vadodara district administration is putting a first-of-its-kind measure in place from September 1, which would act as conclusive evidence in litigations over such land deeds, and eventually, help bring down such litigations.
From Saturday onwards, all sellers and buyers of agriculture land in the district would be personally interviewed by the sub registrar to ascertain that the details of the deed are clear to both the parties at the timing of signing of the deed. The interviews would be simultaneously video-recorded as an evidence to be produced in the court, in case of litigation over the land. Deeds being registered on the power of attorney would also undergo similar treatment. The agreement would be registered only after the sub-registrar gives a certificate saying he is satisfied that the parties are fully aware about the nature and the fine print in the deed.
"If any of the parties later takes a contrary stand in the court, these video recordings can nail their lies," a district functionary said. A fee of Rs 20 would be charged from the applicant to cover the cost of video-recording .
"After we received two such cases last month, where farmers complained that they were taken for a ride by the buyers on the pretext of signing 'Banakhat' (agreement for sale of land) but were duped into signing the actual land deed at the land registrar office, we have decided to put this preventive measure in place," DC, Vinod Rao told TOI.
Sub registrar's queries would be based on a check list where he would ascertain that the buyers/ sellers are aware of the nature of the deed, particularly, whether it's a banakhat or the land deed being signed. In case of multiple buyers or sellers, each individual would be separately interviewed and video-recorded. In case of power of attorney, the sub registrar would seek clarity on whether it is a general power of attorney or a simple power of attorney meant for a specific purpose.
Vipul Thakkar, president of CREDAI hailed the step revealing that the association had helped the administration on arriving at the solution. Niramay Parikh, one of the leading lawyers of the city said the step would definitely bring down the litigation. "It's a good step, but can this be done without amending the Land Registration Act?" he asked.
The DC said it was a procedural step for which no amendment was required.
Nearly 6,000 to 8,000 land deeds are registered every month in Vadodara district. The pace has picked up in the past few years following a spree in building activities on the city's outskirts.
The new measure would also check the collusion of sub-registrar office employees, who are invariably party to exploitative or illegal deeds.
All agriculture land deeds to be video recorded from today - The Times of IndiaCommentQuote0Flag
- BJP MLA sniffs scam in housing scheme for rural poor in Gujarat
Vadodara: A day after The Indian Express reported how three beneficiaries of Sardar Patel Avas Yojana (SPAY) in Nandesari village were allegedly defrauded by a contractor, Vadodara (rural) MLA Upendrasinh Gohil on Wednesday alleged the scam was much bigger and that two more widows of the same village were duped in a similar manner last year.
“It is true that houses have not been constructed and the contractor has taken away money. I have come to know that SPAY money of two widows of the same village were taken away last year but construction of their houses have not progressed beyond plinth level till date. There is a huge scam of swindling SAY money,” Gohil, a BJP MLA, told The Indian Express.
On Tuesday, The Indian Express reported that a Vadodara-based contractor took away money of cheques worth 21,000 each given to 23 BPL families of Nandesari and Rupapura villages at a Garib Kalyan Mela but never started construction of their homes.
Gohil visited Nandesari and met the victim families on Wednesday. He also took photocopies of three cheques given by the contractor, Sajid Patel, to beneficiaries and which allegedly bounced due to insufficient balance in Patel’s account. The cheques were given to Janak Ramsinh Raj, Vidya Mahendra Parmar and Ranjan Bhartsinh Parmar.
“I have faxed the copies of the bounced cheques to the chief minister. These cheques of Baroda Central Cooperative Bank were issued by Patel. I have also faxed copies of bank statements of the three beneficiaries to prove that government cheques given at Garib Kalyan Mela were cleared,” Gohil said.
Meanwhile, Patel reportedly returned money to Janak Raj, Vidya Parmar and Ranajan Parmar. “I have been told that he (the contractor) has deposited amount in the bank accounts of the three,” Gohil said. Sources said the contractor had deposited cheques on Tuesday and they were cleared on Wednesday.
Patel had said yesterday he would return money to all the beneficiaries and would terminate his contract of building the one-room-kitchen houses.
BJP MLA sniffs scam in housing scheme for rural poor in GujaratCommentQuote0Flag
- Kalali slum dwellers refuse to vacate area, say children's schooling will be affected
VADODARA: The residents of Kalali slums in the southern part of the city who have been refusing to go to the alternative temporary housing allotted to them till a housing scheme comes up on the plots where they stay have refused to leave the area. The residents are insisting that they should not be disturbed till the school terms of their wards get over.
The Kalali slum issue has become a major cause of concern for the civic body as earlier a petition was filed in its connection. The Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) had to give an assurance in the high court that the residents would not be disturbed till they were given alternative housing. The civic body also agreed to make houses for them on the same land where they stayed and bring them back.
In June when the residents were asked to go to the houses allotted to them at various locations on a temporary basis sighting the fact that these houses did not have power connections. When a notice was published stating that the slum dwellers should vacate their existing houses, opposition leader in VMC Chinnam Gandhi opposed the move.
Gandhi has said that the residents would not move till alternative arrangements for their children were not done. But this is a daunting task given the fact that the VMC offered to give the children admissions in its schools, but this was turned down by many saying that their children studied in better schools.
Kalali slum dwellers refuse to vacate area, say children's schooling will be affected - The Times of IndiaCommentQuote0Flag
- Opposition leader questions Vadodara Municipal Corporaiton's probe in shoddy RCC road works
VADODARA: The leader of opposition in the Vadodara Municipal Corporaiton (VMC), Chandrakant Shrivastava nee Bhatthu, has questioned the probe initiated by the civic body regarding the shoddy works on RCC roads laid inside societies in the city under the contributory scheme.
Under the scheme the societies were to pay 20 per cent of the cost of the roads while the rest was borne by the state government and VMC. Shrivastava has said that some officials involved with the probe were themselves facing charges of irregularities.
"This clearly gives an impression that the VMC was not serious in the matter. The shoddy work is for everyone to see. The very fact that roads started getting damaged in a month's time itself proves that the work was of extremely inferior quality," Shrivastava claimed adding that the situation was similar in several societies and they had complained to VMC.
The opposition leader added that the VMC should check the quality of paver blocks, cement and steel rods used to make the roads. He added that the opposition Congress will raise the issue of the quality of work in the general body. He added that only an impartial inquiry would reveal the truth. Shrivastava even expressed apprehensions that there were attempts to cover up the matter.
Opposition leader questions Vadodara Municipal Corporaiton's probe in shoddy RCC road works - The Times of IndiaCommentQuote0Flag
- Vadodara Municipal Corporation begins razing Kalali slums
The Vadodara Municipal Corporation has begun a major drive in the Kalali area of the city to raze a slum settlement there. The settlement has around 1,497 houses.
VMC officials said that the drive was initiated as the residents of the slums have been given alternative housing in schemes for the urban poor. The residents were allotted the houses in Tandalja, Jambuva and Kalali itself.
Sources said that around 650 houses were demolished on Thursday and the drive will last for two more days. The land vacated at Kalali will be used for constructing more housing blocks for the urban poor.
VMC officials said that the residents were given houses in a draw in April last year as apart of a settlement reached in the high court after the residents filed a public interest litigation there. The issue of the residents of the slum was also taken up by the opposition Congress party and the People's Union for Civil Liberties.
Officials said that elaborate police security was maintained at the site. Officials of the Madhya Gujarat Vij Company Ltd also remained present to ensure that there were no electricity related mishaps during the operation. No untoward incident was reported during the operation in which five demolition teams of the civic body participated with heavy machinery.
Vadodara Municipal Corporation begins razing Kalali slums - The Times of IndiaCommentQuote0Flag
- Vadodara residents oppose proposed housing schemes by civic body The Sonianagar residents are opposing the project on the grounds that they had been given allotment letters several years back.TNN | May 27, 2017, 17:00 IST
VADODARA: Residents of Sonianagar in Chhani Jakatnaka area of the city and those from Sanjaynagar in Warasiya held separate protests at the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) headquarters on Friday regarding the proposed housing schemes in these areas. The settlements are to be razed to develop housing schemes for the urban poor there.
The Sonianagar residents are opposing the project on the grounds that they had been given allotment letters several years back. They also claimed that the land on which they had settled fell under the Urban Land Ceiling Act. The residents stated that the government was regularising settlements on such plots and even they should benefit from it. They have also sought help to build houses on the existing plots with aid under the Pradhan Mantri Gruh Yojana (PMGY).
Sanjaynagar residents have raised a series of demands including higher rents after their settlement was razed. They have demanded that if this could not be done, the VMC should provide alternative accommodation till work on the Sanjaynagar housing scheme was completed after razing their dwellings. The residents also demanded that the razing drive should be conducted only after monsoon.
- Housing projects dedicated to citizens by Gujarat deputy CM VADODARA: Gujarat deputy chief minister Nitin Patelconducted the draw and formally handed over houses in projects that have come up under various schemes in the city. The housing projects have come up in the city at an investment of Rs 193.2crore.
Patel conducted the draw for 702 units that will come up in the city under the Mukhyamantri Gruh Yojana (MGY) by the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC). These include houses for the lower income group(LIG), middle income group as well as economically weaker sections of the society. As many as 689 LIG houses were also dedicated to the public by Patel.
Patel also conducted the draw for 117 houses that the VMC has planned under the public-private partnership mode under the Pradhanmantri Aavas Yojana. Patel also dedicated 155 houses constructed by the Gujarat Housing Board under MGY in the Akota area of the city.
- VMC’s ambitious housing plans hit legal roadblock Vadodara: The Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) seems to be caught on a sticky wicket regarding work on two major slum redevelopment projects in the city. Over 3,200 dwellings have already been razed at these sites in Sahakarnagar in Tandalja and Sanjaynagar in Warasiya.
The civic body will be constructing houses for the urban poor at Sahakarnagar and Sanjaynagar on a public-private partnership (PPP) mode under the Pradhan Mantri Aavas Yojana.
Under the PPP mode, the developer will construct houses for the slum dwellers on a part of the land while he will monetise the remaining portion for commercial purposes.
- VMC proposes Rs 165cr water supply scheme from Mahi VADODARA: The Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) standing committee on Friday will take up the project for providing drinking water to the city from Mahi River. The project coming up at a cost of Rs 165.75crore will initially have a capacity of 150 million litres per day (MLD).
The project that will come up at Sindhrot was proposed in 2015 to ensure that the city had sufficient water to cater to the needs for the next 30 years. The Narmada, water resources and Kalpsar department of the state government had also given in principle nod to the civic body to lift water from the river.
Tenders were invited for project under the central government's Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) in Apri. Only two bidders came up and one of them was disqualified. The project had to be retendered and three contractors came forward out of which the lowest bidder was given the project.
The project includes a 300MLD intake well on the banks of Mahi. A treatment plantof 150MLD, transmission lines with a capacity of 300MLD and pumping machinery of capacity 100MLD will be a part of the project. The surplus capacity of the intake well has been kept to ensure that it can supply water in case the treatment capacity in increased in the future.
News Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.comCommentQuote0Flag
- Standing committee strikes down property tax hike in Vadodara VADODARA: The standing committee of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) rejected the hikes proposed by the administration in property tax in the draft budget for the year 2018-19. The panel also tempered down the hikes in sanitation charges and fees for other services.
The administration’s proposals of hikes in property tax and sanitation charges would have led to an increased revenue of Rs 80.20crore, but the striking down of hikes in property tax and changes in the slabs of sanitation charges would now lead to additional revenue of Rs 21.44crore.
The cleanliness charges by the civic body have also been raised for both residential and non-residential units. Residential units up to 50 square meter area will have to pay Rs 250 per annum while those between 50 square meters and 100 square meters will have to pay Rs 500 per annum towards sanitation or cleanliness charges.
Residential properties above 100 square meters will have pay Rs 750 per annum towards sanitation.
Non-residential units up to a size of 50 square meters will have to pay Rs 1,000 or 10 per cent of their general property tax, whichever is higher. The rate for non-residential properties between 50 square meters and 100 square meters has been fixed at Rs 1,800 or 10 per cent of general property tax, whichever is higher. For non-residential properties above the size of 100 square meters, the charges will be Rs 2,500 or 10 per cent of the general property tax.
With the changes the budget size of the civic body went down to Rs 3,728crore from Rs 3,820crore. VMC standing committee chairperson Dr Jigisha Sheth said that the costs that the VMC charged for various services were lowered significantly.
Sheth added that a series of steps were also being taken to cut costs. The committee did not add any new major development works even as works proposed by the administration were largely retained.
Discussions on the budget will now be taken up by the general board of the civic body.
- ‘Resettle Kalyannagar residents within a week’ TNN | Updated: Feb 1, 2018, 13:21 IST
Dalit activist Jignesh Mevani making representation before VMC commissioner over settlement of Kalyannagar residents on Wednesday
VADODARA: In a surprising move, Vadgam MLA and Dalit rights activist Jignesh Mevani took up the cause of the families ousted from Kalyannagar. Mevani has set a deadline of one week for the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) to resolve the resettlement deadlock.
The Kalyannagar settlement that had around 1,900 dwellings was razed by the civic body in 2014. Some of the families there were given houses at Sayajipura and Kalali, but this was objected by locales as most of the residents of Kalyannagar were from the minority community.
In a settlement with the victims of the razing drive, the VMC had promised that those not allowed to settle in housing schemes at Sayajipura and Kalali by local residents would be given houses at Kalyannagar itself and Rs 3,000 would be paid as rent to them till the scheme came up. But later the civic body had to take the decision of giving the beneficiaries houses elsewhere as the funds for the Kalyannagar project were exhausted. Unauthorised extra work on the project led to the situation. The contractor stopped work as his payments were stopped by the VMC. The civic body is insisting that the beneficiaries accept houses at a scheme in Tandalja.
Mevani and Congress MLA Imran Khedawala told VMC commissioner Vinod Rao that the right to shelter was a fundamental right and should be upheld. He said that the deadlock should end at the earliest. The delegation set a deadline of eight days for the VMC to resolve the issue. 'Register offence over housing scam'
Vadodara: Vadgam MLA Jignesh Mevani said that the state government should register an offence regarding the alleged irregularities in the Sanjaynagar housing scheme. He said that it seemed that there were attempts to cover the scam. Mevani added that he would raise the issue in the assembly.
- I-T raids on two real estate firms TNN | Feb 2, 2018, 04:12 IST
VADODARA: The income tax department carried out raids at three different firms in the city on Wednesday. They raided premises of two real estate firms and a consumer product company in the city. The raids began in the morning under the police security.
Sources said that I-T officials raided 40 different places of these firms including the company premises, factories and residence. The raids are being conducted to find out unaccounted incomeand properties. The raid may continue over next two days and the I-T officials are expected to question the firms' owners as well.
- Cong plans door-to-door outreach to expose Sanjaynagar land irregularities TNN | Feb 3, 2018, 04:13 IST File photo of the land where Sanjaynagar housing project is planned
Vadodara: The opposition Congress, which had so far resorted to token protests ony regarding the alleged scam in the Sanjaynagar housing scheme, threatened to threatened to go door-to-door to expose the scam.
The city unit of the Congress on Friday declared a detailed agitation programme it plans to take up if the report regarding the alleged scam is not made public at the earliest. Congress has made calculations regarding the possible expenses in the scheme and the revenue that the realtor could make. It claims that the site will generate a profit of at least Rs 1,650crore.
Congress city unit president Prashant Patel said that if the report is not made public within seven days, the party would demand that the documents regarding the tender, all correspondence regarding the site and the agreement between the partners should be made public. It would also approach heads of various religious sects in the city and seek their blessings to expose the scam.
Patel said that a pamphlet exposing the windfall profit that the realtor would make in the site would be distributed to the public. "We will hit the streets in each ward of the civic body and create awareness. We also plan to raise the issue with the Prime Minister as the scheme has come up under the Pradhan Mantri Aavas Yojana (PMAY) launched by him," Patel said.
Congress had so far submitted only memorandums regarding the issue and staged a protest. Patel said that the delay was because they were gathering details regarding the scheme. "There is a veil of secrecy in the VMC regarding such schemes. Nobody is willing to share documents. Even Right to Information queries are stonewalled or incomplete information is given," he said.
The Sanjaynagar issue is gaining momentum with Vadgam independent MLA Jignesh Mevani also making scathing remarks over the issue during his visit to the city on Wednesday. Sources in Congress said that the issue was also being discussed with the state leadership. "The state leaders may take it up in the assembly," said a Congress member. Former opposition leader and former councillor Chinnam Gandhi has also drawn attention of party chief Rahul Gandhi to the issue. What had raised eyebrows so far was the silence of the Congress' elected representatives in the VMC regarding the issue. They had refrained from taking an aggressive posture over the alleged scam.
The VMC had issued two notices to the developer regarding the scheme on December 4. One of these was regarding a change in the stake holding pattern in the joint venture that involved three parties - Narayan Realty, Sai Ruchi and DMC Infra Developers. The stakes were changed after the tender was allotted. The second notice was regarding a storm water drain that the developers wanted the VMC to make. The VMC had initially turned this down, but later brought out a tender raking up a row.
- Vadodara: Consultant of controversial Sanjaynagar housing project suspended The Sanjaynagar housing scheme is mired in a row ever since two notices were issued by the civic body to the developer on December 4TNN | Updated: February 04, 2018, 10:51 IST
VADODARA: Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) has suspended the project management consultant (PMC) roped in for Sanjaynagar housing scheme in Warasiya area of the city. The agency was to oversee the project right from the tendering stage.
The Sanjaynagar housing scheme is mired in a row ever since two notices were issued by the civic body to the developer on December 4. One of the notices was regarding a change in the stakes of the three partners – Narayan Realty, Sai Ruchi and DMC Infra Developers – who had formed a joint venture for the project. The second notice was regarding the stormwater drain that was passing through the plot where slums stood. As per the tender conditions, this was to be made by the developer who was insisting that VMC should make it.
Sources in the civic body said WAPCOS Limited was suspended as the project management consultant soon after the notices were issued. The matter, however, had remained under wraps so far. Officials confirmed on Saturday that the suspension was done before the alleged scam came in public domain last month.
According to officials, any violations should have been brought to the notice of the civic body by the PMC. Till the time the notice was issued and even after that, VMC was holding that the developer had conducted gross violations of tender conditions and needed to be shown the door.
On being asked about the suspension of PMC, VMC commissioner Vinod Rao confirmed the action. He said the action had been taken as the agency had mismanaged the project.
In November, the VMC had also issued a show cause notice to engineer Pramod Vasava, who was posted in the housing department earlier.