Delay in the construction of houses under the Rajiv Gandhi Rehabilitation Package (RGRP) in and around Kattumavadi, about 75 km from here, has been causing a concern to the beneficiaries, especially in the wake of the forthcoming monsoon.

Although the work on the construction of houses under the Asia Development Bank-funded project was taken up in January 2007, it did not register good progress. A major stalemate surfaced early this year, when the district administration had to cancel the tender, after ascertaining that the bank guarantee executed by a contractor for the Kattumavadi package to be bogus.

The labourers from North India, for want of work, were about to quit the village. "But, we retained them by ensuring some local income-generation job such as de-silting a local temple tank for their livelihood, on the lines of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. Later, we even mobilised funds for their incidental expenses. Without depending upon the governmental assistance, we also supplied earth for constructing our houses. But, all these efforts could not be sustained for long, as symptoms for resumption of the work on the governmental side became bleak," says the president of the Kattumavadi Fishermen's Welfare Association, A. Chinna Adaikalam.

All these efforts were taken by the villagers to get the project going without hitch.

He also wanted expeditious disbursement of an interim monthly allowance of Rs. 500 towards rent for each of the beneficiaries. The rental allowance had not been disbursed to the villagers for the past few months.

He expressed his apprehension that even if the work on construction of houses resumed in any near future, the onset of monsoon would pose a challenge.

Collector's priority:

The District Collector, A. Suganthi, when contacted, said that the works were being executed in packages. Although the work was in progress in other packages, the Kattumavadi area has registered a slow progress, particularly due to the cancellation of the tender.

The district administration attached priority for the project in the district and has now sorted out the issue. She expressed confidence that the work would resume within a week's time. A special meeting was held in this regard on Monday.

The beneficiaries had demolished their old houses before handing over the site to the authorities for construction of new houses. The monthly interim assistance of Rs. 500 was being disbursed to each beneficiary-family without any hitch.. The Collector said that

the district administration was prompt in disbursing the sum to these beneficiaries.