Tribal voters threaten poll boycott, seek completion of houses

Construction of houses under the Chief Minister's Solar Powered Green House Scheme remains incomplete at Sembukkarai tribal settlement in Coimbatore.  

Voters from two tribal settlements near Anaikatti in Coimbatore have threatened to boycott the Lok Sabha elctions, expressing disappointment over the delay in the construction of houses under the Chief Minister's Solar Powered Green House Scheme (CMSPGHS), which has remained stagnant for three years.

Tribal voters from Sembukkarai and Dhumanur settlements, coming under 24 Veerapandi panchayat, said 44 houses under the scheme at two places were yet to be completed.

Mayilan from Dhumanur said there had been talks among residents of Dhumanur and Sembukkarai about boycotting the elections over this issue. “A collective decision has been made in this regard (not to vote), and not by any individual. All we want is the completion of the construction works,” he said.

As per the voters’ list, there are 331 voters from Dhumanur, Sembukkarai and Kaattusalai settlements.

Though the project document mentions that the houses should be constructed within 90 days, the works that began in 2016 have been stopped midway.

The District Rural Development Authority (DRDA), which is in charge of the scheme, had started the construction of 12 houses at Sembukkarai and 32 houses at Dhumanur settlements. After delay in the construction was brought to its notice, the DRDA had promised to complete these before the end of January this year.

Joshua G.P.N., a social worker from Anaikatti, said the construction works were started after the demolition of old houses built by the Government during former Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran's regime.

“Now many families are living in temporary huts built by themselves. While men stay at these houses at night, women and children are forced to seek shelter in places like the Government Middle School at Dhumanur and an anganwadi,” he said.

As the two tribal settlements are located inside forest, those living in the temporary shelters are having sleepless nights as movement of wild animals like elephants is very common.

When The Hindu contacted the DRDA, a senior official admitted there were issues related to the construction, but added that “Apart from a few units which have some major works, construction of all the others will be completed within 20 days”.

V.C. Arukutty, MLA for the region, said he had been taking consistent efforts to take Government schemes to the settlements.

“All efforts are being taken to complete the works are the earliest,” he said, claiming that he was the first MLA to visit the tribal settlements.

Meant for those living below the poverty line in rural areas, the 300-sq.ft. green house will have a living room, bed room, kitchen, toilet, verandah and rain water harvesting provision.

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Printable version | May 19, 2021 3:32:46 AM |

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