Construction of solar-powered green houses for the rural poor is likely to commence in Madurai district by the third week of November.

The Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RD and PR) Department has almost completed the identification of beneficiaries for this scheme. The constructions works are expected to be completed by February, official sources told The Hindu here on Friday.

Under this scheme, Rs.1.80 lakh will be allotted for each beneficiary with Rs.1.50 lakh for constructing a house measuring 300 square feet and the remaining Rs.30,000 for purchasing a solar-powered home lighting system.

All the houses must have a rain water harvesting system. Unlike other schemes, where beneficiaries bear a portion of the cost, this scheme provides for the entire cost to be borne by the State government.

Each house should have five solar-powered CFL lights. The RD and PR Department would take up the construction of houses with the Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA) providing the solar equipment.

Sources said that a type design exclusive for the scheme had been developed by the department, to which all houses must conform.

Outlining the eligibility guidelines for selecting beneficiaries, the official said that a permanent waiting list of BPL for each Village Panchayat must be drawn and the “poorest of the poor” must be selected. Also, the beneficiary must not have benefited from any other government housing scheme or own any other pucca house. Priority would be accorded to differently-abled, widows, destitute and deserted women, HIV/AIDS/TB affected, victims of calamities, and households having a mentally-challenged person in the family.

A total of three lakh green houses have been targeted in Tamil Nadu over a five-year period between 2011-12 and 2015-16.

The State Government had allotted Rs.1,080 crore for construction of 60,000 houses during the current financial year.

The scheme implementation was being closely monitored by U. Sagayam, Collector and Chairman of DRDA.

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