Wednesday, August 29, 2012

AFNHB is akin to AWHO: Money Spinners

Adarsh scam scares Kerala govt
K P Sai Kiran, TNN Aug 26, 2012, 03.45AM IST
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Ricochets of Adarsh scam seem to have rocked the Kerala bureaucracy. The state revenue department has turned down a proposal by the Air Force Naval Housing Board (AFNHB), requesting land for coming up with a housing project for serving and retired Air Force and Navy personnel, citing that "it may lead to Adarsh-like scams".
"The proposal may be turned down. The AFNHB is only a housing society which is registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860. When prime land is not available even for development purposes of the state, it need not be given for such purposes. An alternative site can be located but the government need not play the role of a middle-man for locating the land, as it may lead to Adarsh-like scams," said the revenue department's note, accessed by the STOI.
With this, fate of the ambitious project by the defence welfare organization is almost sealed.
"With the department concerned putting such an objection on record, that too expressing apprehension of another Adarsh-like scam, the housing project may not take off,'' a source said.
Union minister of state for defence M M Pallam Raju had on May 31, 2007, written to the then chief minister V S Achuthanandan requesting to allot at least 10 acres of land at a suitable location for the AFNHB "to construct residential units, community facilities, sports complexes, etc., for retired Air Force and Navy personnel of your state''.
Following this, the AFNHB put forward a proposal requesting the Kerala government to allot 10 acres from the 135 acres of land near Muttathara, close to the airport. Air Vice-Marshal K P Nair on June 14, 2012, wrote to the government that AFNHB was willing to pay for the land at prevailing government rates.
The Muttathara land, ever since the revenue department decided to develop it for housing projects, was eyed by many governmental and semi-governmental organizations given its prime location and proximity to the airport. Though the Kerala government has already given parts of the 135-acre plot to Indian Air Force, Border Security Force and Airports Authority of India, the babus developed cold feet in the case of AFNHB alone.
Adarsh scam scares Kerala govt
Comment: Wise decision taken by Kerala. Most of the AWHO houses after a few years are sold to the civilians thereby making a huge profit. In some cases complete housing colony is now owned by civilians. Transfer from Military allottee to civilians is based on paying bribes to AWHO officials at Delhi. The whole concept of Welfare Housing for the Armed Forces (like AWHO) smacks transparency under the 1860 Indian Society Act. This is a money making gimmick which should be discouraged and closed down. All state governments must be warned against allotting land to these so called welfare organisations. Only Senior Military Personnel Benefit in these clandestine welfare gimmicks. The poor Jawans are made suckers by the poor quality and sub-standard construction which starts to crumble even before occupation. This has been exposed in earlier posts on this blog on AWHO- click here.

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