More than 3,000 destitute people and nearly 7,500 seriously ill and handicapped persons will be among the beneficiaries of the first phase of the Zero Landless programme of the State government. United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi will inaugurate the distribution of title deeds here on September 8.

Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash told the media here on Friday that 26,750 widows, 36,110 people from the Scheduled Castes, and 2,239 from the Scheduled Tribes would also get three cents of land each under the first phase of the programme. The objective of the programme is to provide land to all the landless (estimated to be 2.33 lakh) by 2015.

The Minister said that 77,306 plots had been demarcated for distribution from revenue puramboke, bought-in, surplus, and escheat land in all the 14 districts of the State. Of this, 17,260 plots in seven southern districts are proposed to be distributed now. The date for other districts would be announced later. Though Idukki has been included among the districts for distribution of titles on September 8, only a representative group from the district will attend the September 8 function.

Priority

Mr. Prakash said that priority had been accorded to the destitute, people suffering from incurable diseases such as cancer and heart ailments, the physically challenged (with more than 50 per cent handicap), widows, and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the allocation of land. If land is not available locally, the beneficiary could opt for land elsewhere. The beneficiaries would be able to get assistance for housing under various government schemes once they get the land.