The new houses being constructed in Natham, Anna Nagar, Kondampatti and Sengalmedu Dalit colonies near Naikkankottai village in Dharmapuri district will have toilet-cum-bathroom facilities, said C.K. Veerannan, Project Director, District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) here on Saturday.

The district administration planned to build the facilities, each at a cost of Rs. 11,100, under the Nirmal Bharat Abiyan Scheme. Of this, Rs. 4,500 would be spent from the funds for the MGNREGS scheme with the participation of beneficiaries.

As many as 268 houses were looted and torched last November by an angry mob immediately after the suicide of caste Hindu Nagarajan, father of Divya, who married Dalit boy E. Ilavarasan from Natham colony.

As per the estimate of the district administration the State government had sanctioned Rs. 3.67 crore for the construction of 136 new houses, each costing Rs. 2.70 lakh, including Rs. 30,000 for solar panels and other equipment.

The funds for the scheme were allocated by the Adi Dravidar Welfare department on February 22. State-level tenders were floated for the housing project. As no one came forward to bid for construction, it was decided to take up the project under the DRDA.

Besides, Rs. 37.16-lakh was sanctioned for undertaking repair works in 156 houses and Rs. 26.16 lakh for work on severely damaged houses.

Denying the allegation of slow pace of construction, Mr. Veerannan said plastering work was over in 34 houses. The remaining work would be completed in a month’s time. Work on 22 houses had come up to roof level.

Though, the district administration constructed a community hall for the people, it was not possible to accommodate the entire family.

Hence, construction was taken up in a phased manner after demolishing the damaged houses, he said.

Meanwhile, the fiver-member panel appointed by the State government as per the directions of the Madras High Court, headed by R. Vasuki, Additional Secretary, Department of Agriculture to hear the grievances of the affected people in Natham Colony, arrived here on Sunday. The other members of the panel are R. Palanisamy, Commissioner, Animal Husbandry and

Health Services and DROs P. Muthuramalingam (Athur), R. Sathish (Salem) and P. Manoharan (Krishnagiri).

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