Salumarada Thimmakka, who captured public imagination by planting and painstakingly nurturing around 284 banyans on a stretch of national highway in Ramanagaram district, was handed over a house built for her by the Karnataka Housing Board (KHB) in Bangalore on Tuesday.
The house, built on a 30 ft. x 40 ft. site in Suryanagar at a cost of Rs. 14.5 lakh, was gifted to the octogenarian by the government, which also paid the registration fee. “No other government has done this so far. We have not only allotted the site, but also built a house for her,” said Housing Minister V. Somanna after handing over the allotment certificate to her.
Apart from Ms. Thimmakka, the Minister also handed over the allotment letter for a 50 ft. x 80 ft. site to yoga expert Prakash and a 60 ft. x 40 ft. site to Riyaz, an ex-serviceman from Chamarajanagar injured in a terror attack at Srinagar. Both these sites were given to them at a concessional rate.
Speaking to reporters, the Minister said the KHB would develop the Swami Vivekananda Layout at Jigani on 3,500 acres of land. “About 50,000 sites would be developed for which a budgetary support of Rs. 3,500 crore has been announced already. The layout will be developed in two to three years’ time,” he said.
Land acquisition will commence shortly and the KHB will buy the land directly from farmers, keeping out middlemen. On the rehabilitation of those evicted from Ejipura so controversially, he said five acres have been allotted at Varthur, and the Karnataka Slum Development Board would construct houses for them.