‘Chhaya’s Chhaya’- The Place called Home
Chhaya Pramanik is from Nursikdarchak village under Bishnupur – 1 block, Panaqua Gram Panchayat, West Bengal. She is a housewife and lives with her family-husband and three daughters, out of which two of her elder daughters got married recently. Today she is a proud owner of her new home built under- ‘Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Gramin (PMAY-G) a social welfare flagship programme, created by the Indian Government, to provide housing for the rural poor in India.
While sharing her story, she says that the situation was not always the same – “My husband- Kashinath Pramanik is a daily wage labourer earning just enough to meet our ends. Without continual savings, it was becoming a challenge to survive and also to think about the future of our daughters. The major challenge was that we were living in a small temporary house made of clay and tiles, and eventually it became quite difficult for all the five members to stay there.”
Difficulties arose especially in the rainy season during which the rooftop leaked badly. Therefore every year due to rains, the clay walls of their house got damaged and it was becoming a challenge to rebuild the walls each time. She also had the responsibilities of household chores and taking care of her daughters. Slowly living in that house became fatal as well, as there was a constant threat of either the roof falling down due to the unstable walls or the house getting blown away due to heavy storms.
In 2002, Chhaya joined as a Secretary in Nabarupa SHG group and became a regular attendee at SHG meetings. During one such meeting, she came to know that permanent houses were being constructed by the Government. To get more details about the Government scheme, she contacted DBSS Barrackpore who further guided her to understand and apply for a new pucca house under PMAY-G. She also discussed the same with members of the Gram Panchayat. DBSS helped her to fill the required forms and put together other documents that were needed. After submitting all the documents in the Panchayat office, some Govt. officers came to visit Chhaya and clicked pictures of her house. In the next couple of days she received some money in her bank under the scheme to begin construction of her new house. She got the PMAY-G finance in three instalments out of which she has already received two instalments of Rs. 40,000 each.
Chhaya also took few loans from her SHG to start a small business and in today’s date she owns a pond and does Pisciculture. Her fish business gave her good returns with earnings of Rs. 80, 000/- every year. She reinvested these earnings in her business and saved some to marry off her two elder daughters and for her younger daughter’s education to complete her Bachelors Program. She is slowly also paying off the instalments of the loan she took from her SHG group.
At present Chhaya is living in a permanent house built with brick and cement. She is now leading a happy and respectful life. Also now all the SHG meetings take place in her new permanent house.
Chhaya along with her SHG and DBSS have encouraged many others in the village to come forward and take the benefit of PMAY-G. Through this Govt. scheme, the beneficiaries are being offered cheap housing loan with interest grant from the government and a wide variety of designs to model their houses on. DBSS is also facilitating as an active agent to link the people to this scheme and complete the application process. Gradually now many in the village have their own permanent ‘place called home’.