In an odd turn of events, four married women ran away from their homes in Uttar Pradesh with their lovers after they received the money under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), leaving their husbands behind. PMAY is a flagship scheme of the central government, which aims to address the urban housing shortage among the poor - those who belong to economically weaker section (EWS), and lower and middle income groups. Under the scheme, the government transfers cash money to the accounts of beneficiaries so that they can own a house.
The Centre has made it mandatory under PMAY for the female head of the family to be the owner or co-owner of the house. The four women, beneficiaries of the scheme, made use of this provision and as soon as a grant of Rs 50,000 landed in their accounts, they left their husbands.
The husbands, however, now face two distinct problems as a result of this incident - they received a warning from the District Urban Development Agency (DUDA) since the construction hasn't begun, and are also worried that they will receive a notice of recovery because they haven't received any money from the installment.
The befuddled husbands have no idea what to do now, which is why they have asked the project officer of DUDA not to send the next installment into the bank accounts that their runaway wives can access.
The first installment was sent to the accounts of these four women beneficiaries of Nagar Panchayat Belhara, Banki, Zaidpur and Siddhaur of the district, but they escaped with their lovers and the money.
This bizarre case came to the notice of authorities when the construction work on their houses did not begin. The project officer for DUDA, sent a notice and ordered that the construction work of the house begin immediately, but there was no development even after the notice.
The husbands of the women finally reached the government office and told the authorities that their wives had left with their lovers and asked them to not credit the second installment of PMAY. District officials are now baffled as to how to recover the money these beneficiaries.
"Under the PMAY scheme, in Barabanki district, 1604 houses were approved for construction. The department has distributed the first installment to all allottees. After the investigation, it was found that 40 people hadn't started the construction work yet. Following this, the officials issued a notice and ordered that the construction of the house begin immediately. However, it was discovered that there are a few houses where money was transferred to women's accounts, and the women took out the money and ran away with someone else," said DUDA Project Officer Saurabh Tripathi.
"The husbands have been instructed to persuade and bring their wives home. Because this is government money, it should not be misused, and if it is, the department will take appropriate action," Mr Tripathi added.