Ford India's initiative for rehabilitation of tsunami-affected people

Staff Reporter

KANCHEEPURAM: Youth in the tsunami-affected areas will be trained to take up motor trade-related activities, according to the Managing Director and president of Ford India, David Friedman.

Addressing residents of Panaiyur Periyakuppam, a fishermen hamlet in Kancheepuram district on Friday, Mr. Friedman said Ford valued the opportunity to help the tsunami-affected people and to make the assistance complete it was proposed to rope in youth living in these areas into motor-related trade activities. "This will help them take up alternative profession if they want to," he said handing over five fibreglass boats fitted with out-board engines to fishermen.

Sustainable development

The Ford India Tsunami Rehabilitation project (TRP), launched in association with the Confederation of Indian Industry and support from the District Administration, aimed at achieving sustainable development by making the hamlet self-reliant.

"Our programme scope includes comprehensive socio-economic development activities by way of providing vocational training, functional literacy and multi-trade skill activity apart from encouraging the fishermen to resume fishing in an ecological manner," he said.

The Chairman, CII - Southern Region, R. Parasuraman, said the CII, which mobilised Rs. 6.50-crore worth relief materials from its members after the disaster, was planning to launch independent projects in tsunami-affected districts.

`Make use of schemes'

Apart from extending help to resume fishing, efforts would be taken to ensure fishermen get better price for their catch.

The Project Officer, District Rural Development Agency , P. Velusamy, urged the fishermen to make best use of the assistance extended by the non-governmental organisations and the schemes implemented by the Government.

The project head, CII-Ford TRP, K.N. Krishnamurthy, said it was proposed to distribute 25 boats to 75 persons, in groups of three persons, in the hamlet.

The beneficiaries would have to repay around Rs. 25,000 per boat over a period of 17 months to create a corpus fund which would be reinvested for the betterment of the hamlet.

Eight boats were handed over to the fishermen on Friday as first instalment.

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