Ashrayan Project bears fruit
It is reassuring to note that a total of 2, 97,886 families have been rehabilitated under the Ashrayan Prakalpa (Ashrayan Project) launched in 1997, in three phases across the country. The project has become a boon particularly for the widows with dire poverty struggling for survival with their minor children. The government has indeed undertaken a scheme to give the homeless people a meaningful life through providing shelter and assistance as well as alleviating poverty through involving them in income-generating activities.
The males and female members of the project are being given training for awareness building, capacity building and human resource development to enable them becoming engaged with income generating activities. The project has also relieved many homeless families from economic vulnerability, by providing them with shelters and necessary financial assistance to rebuild their life. As the project now targets the impoverished people of the whole country, by aiding them to build their shelter with a means of income generation can also check the displacement of people from one place to another.
Natural calamities like flood, erosion and drought uproot many people in the country almost every year. The victims find no other alternative but to migrate to cities and towns for survival. These rootless people add to the population of cities and towns that are already overburdened with millions of people.
There are scores of people living in rural areas. Majority of them do not have arable lands but they have patches of land where they are living after making shacks or shanties. For want of financial support they cannot build sustainable dwellings there. These people should be provided with monetary allocation or bank loans on easy terms and conditions so that they can build sustainable dwelling houses. It is time for the government to think over decentralization and balanced development of rural and urban economy.
Especially, given the country's growing demand for low cost housing solutions for low income people, we believe the budgetary allocation for Ashrayan Project should be expanded to all the districts of the country. Measures should be taken so that the benefits of the project reach the people at the grassroots level. Last but never the least, the targeted people of the Ashrayan project must not select its beneficiaries through nepotism or political loyalty, they should be chosen based on the appropriate criterion so to ensure equality and even-handedness.