Staff Reporter

Paloli launches campaign on ‘Thozhilum Veedum’ project

Local bodies told to exploit NREGS for housing scheme in the State

Steps to disburse new NREGS wages in two week’s time

PATHANAMTHITTA: Local Administration Minister Paloli Mohammed Kutty has said the local self-government institutions should exploit the National Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) for providing housing for the homeless in a time-bound manner.

The Minister was launching a campaign on the ‘Thozhilum Veedum’ project aimed at providing employment to the unemployed and housing for the homeless as part of the EMS Housing Scheme in Pathanamthitta district here on Monday afternoon.

According to him, the State had a total of five lakh homeless people and of them one lakh did not have even a cent of land of their own. The government’s efforts were to provide a proper dwelling place to all the homeless people in the State, he said.

The Minister said the local self-government institutions should take it their social and moral responsibility to provide home for all the homeless people, making use of every available opportunity to achieve the goal.

He aid special care should be taken to avoid controversies while implementing the project as the primary aim was to provide housing to the maximum number of homeless people in the first phase of the project itself.

Mr. Mohammed Kutty said the government was trying to make the NREGS beneficial to the State’s farming sector, and the watershed development programme could be implemented in private lands up to an area of five acres. This would also generate more jobs, besides achieving considerable improvement in agriculture production, he said.

The Minister said local self-government institutions should also make appropriate planning for the successful implementation of the housing scheme.

Even though the Union government had fixed Rs.100 as the daily wage under the NREGS, it had permitted the State government to give the prevailing rate of Rs.125 to workers engaged in various NREGS schemes and steps should be taken to disburse the wages in two week’s time, he said.

He said a total of 19,158 families had been identified as homeless in the district.

K. Sivadasan Nair, MLA, presided over the function. Appinazhakathu Santhakumari, district panchayat president; A.P. Jayan, vice-president; S. Lalithambika, District Collector, and M. Ajayakumar, project director, also spoke.