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Clay bogs tsunami house construction

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SOILED BY DELAY: Tsunami houses under construction near Meemisal in Pudukottai district.
SOILED BY DELAY: Tsunami houses under construction near Meemisal in Pudukottai district.

Staff Reporter

PUDUKOTTAI: Too many packages scattered over the 38-km long coastal stretch, inaccessible sites and the clay soil have all gone to tardy execution of the work on construction of houses under the Rajiv Gandhi Rehabilitation Package (RGRP) for tsunami victims in the district.

The district administration has taken efforts for expediting the execution of the programme by conducting frequent inspection of the sites, ensuring minimum delay in handing over the houses to the beneficiaries.

Construction of as many as 2,308 houses under the Asia Development Bank-funded RGRP commenced in a phased manner in 19 packages in January 2008 at an outlay of Rs.61.28 crores. So far, houses had been handed over to about 165 fishermen.

Access hindered

The density of habitations at places such as Jegadapattinam and Ammapattinam has been hindering access to lorries laden with building-materials and other machinery.

“Bricks and cement bags are being carried on head for the construction of about 380 houses in these areas,” official sources said. Further, the clay soil had forced the officials to resort to pile foundation.

“The cost of a house being built with a pile foundation is fairly higher than the estimate of Rs. 2.38 lakh,” sources said.

Delayed work

Pudukottai was the lone coastal district where the RGRP work was taken up late _ four years after the tsunami. However, the delay has come as a blessing in disguise, as the district bagged an additional Rs. 12.68 crore for the provision of basic amenities, particularly roads, drainage and drinking water facilities besides desilting of water-bodies.

A sum of Rs. 5.85 crore was sanctioned for laying of cement roads; Rs. 3.5 crore for tar road.

Special thrust

“Special thrust was given to the provision of these basic amenities. The work has been completed in almost all the packages,” say the sources.

Collector Reeta Harish Thakkar said that the work was being executed without any time-overrun, barring a few villages. She advised the officials and contractors to minimise the delay.

Showers delay work

The recent showers had caused a setback in the execution of the project. However, the work would gather momentum within a couple of weeks, she concluded.

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