The local self government department has salvaged Trivandrum Development Authority (Trida) from revenue recovery proceedings by diverting fund from cash-strapped LIFE housing mission to pay loan liabilities to the tune of Rs 8.97 crore.
LIFE housing mission, which is already staring at huge financial crisis owing to its mammoth housing targets, was tapped by the state government to make up for the liabilities incurred by Trida for decades in a move to settle the matter before the end of the financial year.
Trida chairman C Jayan Babu said that the loan was taken sometime in the past for construction of houses for economically weaker sections. “The government intervened to settle the dues by allowing funds and now we are cleared of revenue recovery proceedings,” said Babu.
Officials with Hudco said that Trida had taken nearly 30 loans during the past two decades for various reasons like creation of urban infrastructure, housing and land acquisition and owing to non-payment, Hudco had agreed for a one-time settlement. Neyyatinkara municipality was also another defaulter along with Trida.
Kerala urban development finance corporation (KURDFC) had taken over the loans from Hudco and initiated revenue recovery proceedings against Trida. Sources said that the government had no other way to clear the dues but to bank on LIFE mission since the government was set to take a huge loan from Hudco for LIFE housing mission. “It’s like a small sacrifice for a bigger outcome. We are set to borrow nearly Rs 4,000 crore from Hudco for LIFE housing mission and Hudco wouldn’t lend money without no dues certificate and it was imperative to find some way to clear the dues,” an official said.
Adeela Abdulla, CEO, LIFE housing mission, said that the decision to use LIFE fund to repay the debts incurred by Trida was made by the government for a larger purpose. However, the move has not gone down well with a section of officials who say that it was completely illogical and unfair on the part of the government to use LIFE mission funds to clear dues of Trida. “It was the responsibility of Trida to have collected revenue from its assets and repay the loans. Now, LIFE mission has been deprived of its meagre funds and strangely government is mulling huge loans to sustain LIFE mission,” an official said.
The total state allocation for Trida between 2016-17 and 2017-18 was Rs 55 crore and during the same period Trida’s own income recorded just Rs 4.68 crore.
LIFE mission is already reeling under enormous financial burden. As per the scheme, the expenditure per flat comes to Rs 10 lakh and Rs 2,500 crore is earmarked for LIFE mission in 2018. Construction of 77,756 incomplete houses is going on. Houses need to be constructed for 4,21,073 people who don’t own habitable dwelling and houses for 3,38,450 landless people. The scheme aims to provide with houses worth Rs 4 lakh. In 2018-19, LIFE has targeted to provide houses to 1.76 lakh people, who own land but are houseless.