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Rising construction cost dampens their spirit

P. Samuel Jonathan
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Houses being built for the residents of Bethany Colony

A house sanctioned under Indiramma scheme under construction at Bethany Leprosy Colony in Bapatla.—Photo: T. Vijaya Kumar
A house sanctioned under Indiramma scheme under construction at Bethany Leprosy Colony in Bapatla.—Photo: T. Vijaya Kumar

Its construction time again at the Bethany Leprosy Colony. Even as a group of workers are busily engaged in mixing cement, sand and concrete, anxiety is writ on the faces of most of the residents.

After a gap of 32 years, houses are again being constructed for the residents of Bethany Colony. It was 1985, construction of 341 houses was taken up with the assistance of the State Government and few donor. Most of the houses are now in a dilapidated condition with crumbling walls and creaky roofs, forcing the residents to appeal for sanctioning of new houses under Indiramma scheme.

After several representations from the Bethany Leprosy Colony Association (BCLA), the Andhra Pradesh State Housing Corporation (APSHC) has given the nod for construction of 115 houses under Indirmma Urban (National Calamities), out of which 69 were allotted to beneficiaries of SC/ST communities. The APSHC had further increased the quota by 10 units taking the total number of units to 125. The cost of each unit was pegged at Rs.55,000 (BC, Minority and other communities) and Rs.85,000 (SC/ST community).

“We are worried over the rising cost of construction. The government had sanctioned Rs.85,000 per each house but we need more money to build a strong and safe house,’’ says colony association president P. Krishna Mohan.

The AMG India International has pledged to contribute Rs.30,000 but the residents say they need at least another Rs. 40,000 to complete their houses.

“After a gap of more than 30 years, we are able to have our homes rebuilt. We have been able to turn a new leaf in our lives, thanks to the support from the government and the NGOs. We need the support of government agencies as well as philanthropists, ‘’ association secretary B. Muniswamy.

Budget

The APSHC, on the other hand, insists that residents should adhere to the standard design and construct the houses within the budget. “The residents should realise the cost of the construction could go up if they add stair case and other paraphernalia,’’ said Project Director, APSHC, Guntur K. Suresh.



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