The government is Sindh has failed to deliver on low-cost houses and plots for the poor people living in Sindh. Despite PPP’s slogan of “Roti, Kapra Aur Maakan” (Food, clothing and housing) it could not initiate its cheap house financing scheme after 9 years.
A project was announced in the 2008 but it could not be initiated until now. The Shaheed Benazir Housing Cell was supposed to provide low-cost houses to 15,000 underprivileged families in Sindh.
During the past nine years, the government has succeeded in providing one or two room houses to a few rural areas of Sindh while failing to provide the same facilities to the other districts of the province.
The scheme has only provided low-cost homes to families in Khairpur while the scheme has not started working on any property in urban cities. The reasons behind the failed project include corruption in government departments and administrative issues.
Project at a Standstill in Karachi
Former Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah approved the allocation of 350 acres of land for housing projects but the land has not been transferred to the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Housing Cell until now.
350 acre of land is located in various districts of Karachi:
- 200 acres situated in Konkar Deh
- 100 acres situated in Bakran Deh
- 50 acres located in Nagan Deh
The new administration of the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto housing cell, in June 2016, issued challans worth 170 million for the transfer of the land but the Accountant General Sindh delayed the released the payment. The delay in the release of funds for the acquisition of land has left the doors open for illegal occupation of land by the land mafia.
The land in Nagan Deh has already been occupied by illegal construction and encroachments. There is a fear among the underprivileged that this project may never see the light of day due lack of communication between the departments to acquire the land for development.
Similar Situation in Other Districts
In Hyderabad, Hatteri Town housing scheme was supposed to provide low-cost houses to 300 families. 19 acres of land was allocated and Rs. 4.6 million was provided for the acquisition of land but the land is still not acquired.
In Mirpurkhas, 12 acres of land was provided for 200 families and 5 acres of land was reserved for 120 underprivileged families in Nawabshah.
All the housing projects have seen the same fate; no land has been acquired but the funds for the acquisition of land have been released. This raises the question of where the funds are going?
The project named People Housing Scheme was launched by the former chief minister Qaim Ali Shah in 2008. The name of the project was changed to Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Housing Cell. It was established to provide low-cost houses to underprivileged and poor families of Sindh. Like many other government projects, irregularities were reported in the organization. The claims of irregularities revolved around financial and administrative records.
National Accountability Bureau (NAB) arrested the former chairperson and technical director of the housing cell, Manzar Abbas, and other parties involved in corruption in 2015.
The administrative director of the project, Syed Sabir Hussain Shah, said that the selection mechanism of the families is transparent.
We are working on improving the quality of the project. We also in contact with various non-government organizations (NGOs) to involve them in this project.