|Borah speaking at a function at Naples, Italy|
it was a success story, not so much talked about in the Delhi circle as yet. Later, Punjab’s deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal showered praises on the bureaucrats, architects and engineers behind the Board when he visited Naya Raipur’s Sector 27 that were dotted with ultra-modern houses. And finally, HUDCO recognized the good work of the Chhattisgarh Housing Board and gave it the National Award for Best Practices to Improve Living Environment (2011-12).
In fact, it’s the happiness factor among employees that is believed to be the driving force for making the Board into a success story. The employees work harder as they are taken care of. Already, the retirement age of the employees working in the Board has been increased from 58 to 60 years. The engineers of the Board are sent abroad to update their technical knowledge and capabilities. Special allowances are given to employees who need to work in difficult areas. Also, travelling allowances get increased as soon as fuel prices rise. And there is a provision for grant of mobile phones to engineers and sub-engineers.
Today, Chhattisgarh Housing Board is a debt free company and its management practices merit replication across states.
Many say, this success story could give the ruling political party some electoral mileages as well. Sample this. Between 2004 and 2012, the Chhattisgarh Housing Board built 52,770 houses, a whopping 185% more houses than what Madhya Pradesh Housing Board built in 30 years (1972-2002). The comparison is valid as Chhattisgarh was carved out of the state of Madhya Pradesh in 2000. And in terms of scale of operation, Chhattisgarh Housing Board’s annual budget is Rs 993 crore (2012-13) as against Madhya Pradesh Housing Board’s maximum annual budget of Rs 20 crore in those 30 years. And with over 80% of those houses being built for economically weaker sections, and the schemes being named after BJP stalwarts such as Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Kushabhau Thakre, the ruling government is bound to use this success story to reap political benefits.
For the bureaucrats behind this project, the challenge however is how to take the housing board to the next level. Very soon, its operations could go online when booking, allotment of houses, payment, maps of the projects etc. will be available at a click of a mouse.