Naran Koshti was very happy when he was given a house under the low income group (LIG) by the government. But his happiness was short-lived when he was told to shell out Rs 12 lakh in a span of 18 months for a house of his own. Fearing he would lose the opportunity to own a house, he knocked the doors of Gujarat High Court for justice. The court has issued notices to the state government, Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA) and AUDA estate officer to clear their stand on the terms of payment.
Koshti repairs punctured tyres at his makeshift shed in Gota for a living. Thursday turned out to be a bad day for the 47-year-old. He earns Rs 8,000 per month, of which Rs 3,000 goes as rent for a 10×12 feet chawl at Narsinh Mandir in Dudheshwar. He has to spend on the education of his two daughters Devi, 13, and Priyanka, 11, and give the remaining amount to his wife Kalpana to run the household.
Two of his daughters are married. “When I heard that my name figured in the draw of lots for a house I was over the moon. But that was not the case when I had filled the form and paid Rs 10,000 for LIG house in February 2014. With no reply from the authority for six months, I was not sure if the allotment would happen. So I had fixed my daughter’s marriage in February and set aside a sum for it. Meanwhile, the draw of lots took place in December, ” Koshti told Mirror. The draw of lots was conducted in the presence of Member of Parliament from Gandhinagar L K Advani and Chief Minister Anandiben Patel. The then AUDA chairman Dharmendra Shah was also present on the occasion.
“I was allotted house number 205 in block A with a letter to pay Rs 1.10 lakh by February 4. Showing my daughter Urvashi’s marriage card, I requested the authorities to consider my case. But they did not say anything,” he said. His daughter was married on February 10. In the first week of March, Koshti received a letter from AUDA. The letter stated that he will have to pay Rs 3.90 lakh by April 4 or his allotment would stand cancelled. If delayed he will have to pay the amount with 15 % interest. He had to pay the remaining Rs 8 lakh in 14 months.
“Look at the condition they have stated. How can a poor person pay Rs 12 lakh in 18 months?” asked Koshti. “My condition does not permit me to pay a huge sum in such a short time. Sometimes I am not able to pay the electric bill of my house and have to pay it in next billing cycle with penalty,” he said. Through advocate Jeet Bhatt, he filed public interest litigation (PIL) in the court of Chief Justice V M Sahai and Justice R P Dholaria on Thursday. According to Koshti’s advocate, the court has issued notice to the state government through the secretary, Urban Housing and Urban Development Department, Gandhinagar, AUDA and the estate officer of AUDA.