Encouraged by its maiden effort earlier, the Habitat for Humanity, India, has planned to construct 200 more houses to benefit the shelter-less persons of Manamelkudi, a coastal village about 80 km from here.

Speaking after laying the foundation for the first house at Manamelkudi, the Director of Habitat Resource Centre, Chennai, Victor Chandran, said that the houses were being constructed for the beneficiaries selected under the Centrally-sponsored Indira Awaj Yojana (IAY).

Each beneficiary was sanctioned Rs.55,000 under the IAY. "But, the sum is too inadequate especially when it involves provision of integrated infrastructure including drainage, environmental hygiene and other basic amenities," he said.

The Habitat for Humanity, India, sanctioned an interest-free loan of Rs.25,000 to each beneficiary to meet the extra expenses for drainage, health-care environment and other basic aspects. .

A survey conducted in Manamelkudi block indicated that as many as 3,500 persons below the poverty line were in need of housing facility and it has been planned to construct 1,000 houses in a phased manner and in the initial phase, as many as 300 houses had been constructed, he added.

He also said that the housing programme were being executed in co-ordination with a service organisation, Rural Education and Economic Development (REED). The repayment of loan taken by the beneficiaries of the first phase was so prompt that the second phase of the project had been taken up today. Work on construction of 200 houses would be completed by December, he added.

The Chairman of Manamelkudi Panchayat Union, Seeniar alias S. M. Mohamad Abdullah said that the project has come as a boon to the people belonging to the economically weaker sections.

A large number of women took out a procession from the Panchayat Union Office as part of observance of the ‘World Habitat Day.’ Carrying placards, they sensitised the masses to the importance of health and hygiene as part of housing project – the ideology of the Habitat for Humanity, India.