1,139 CFLs to be installed in 292 habitations this year

Rural habitations in the district will not get just lights but energy-efficient ones under the Tamil Nadu Village Habitations Improvement (THAI) Scheme.

The district administration has decided to go in for CFLs (compact florescent lamps) to standardise procurement and also bring down the village panchayats’ expenditure on power, says N. Venaktesh, Additional Collector, District Rural Development Agency.

In 2012-13 the administration will install 1,139 CFLs in 44 panchayats.

The THAI scheme is a rural infrastructure development project having habitations and not panchayats as the unit for implementing the project.

“This [Tamil Nadu] Government has introduced the flagship programme called Tamil Nadu Village Habitations Improvement (THAI) Scheme to overcome the bottlenecks in the uneven distribution of resources and to provide minimum basic infrastructure facilities to all the habitations,” says the Government Order.

“Tamil Nadu is the only State focussing on ‘habitation’ as the unit of development and no other State in the Country is implementing such a innovative scheme,” the GO claims.

Rationale

Explaining the rationale for focussing on habitations and not panchayats, the GO says allocation of village panchayats, which have varied number of habitations, has led to disparity in development, disproportionate distribution of assets and uneven progress.

It cites the Nilgris and Villupuram districts as examples to drive home the point. The former, on an average, has 37 habitations in a village panchayat, while the latter has three.

Mr. Venkatesh says that if a village panchayat has fewer than five habitations, the Government allocates Rs. 20 lakh. If it is between six and 15 habitations, it is Rs. 30 lakh. For village panchayats with habitations ranging between 16 and 25, the allocation is Rs. 40 lakh.

And for those over 25 habitations, it is Rs. 50 lakh.

The administration will utilise the money to improve infrastructure, which again, the Government has classified as minimum basic requirements, additional requirements and other works.

If habitations do not have the items listed under minimum basic requirements, the administration will utilise the money to provide the same.

If they have all the components under the minimum basic requirements, it will go for providing the items listed under the additional requirements. And, assuming that habitations have both, the administration will utilise the money to take up any of the other permitted works.

In 2011-12, the administration took up 497 works to install 582 lights, 188 works related to providing drinking water and 399 works to provide roads.

This also includes 25 burial grounds.

In 2012-13, the administration has carried out 305 works to install 1,139 lamps, 263 works on the water supply front, 167 works to lay roads and another 25 works to provide burial grounds.

Mr. Venaktesh says that the administration has also taken up 10 works to lay pathways to burial grounds.

Wherever the requirements are more, the administration has dovetailed funds from the Member of Parliament Local Area Development scheme and Member of Legislative Assembly Constituency Development Fund.

In executing the scheme, the administration has put dalit or backward habitations high on the priority list, he adds.