Kerala unveils Rs.50-bn project for homeless

November 23rd, 2008 - 8:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 23 (IANS) The Kerala government Sunday unveiled a massive Rs.50-billion package, aimed at providing houses to all homeless people in the scheduled castes (SC) and scheduled tribes (ST) category before the present government’s term ends in May 2011.Speaking to reporters after a meeting with representatives of 27 organisations campaigning for the rights of the underprivileged, Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan said here that this was the single biggest project of his government so far.

“There are 68,148 SC families which do not have land, and 64,645 SC families and 35,000 ST families have no homes. The state revenue department will identify 5,000 acres for this, which is now in the custody of the land mafia… This would be taken and handed over to the weaker sections of the society,” the chief minister said.

Talking about funds for the project, he said the cooperation department will provide Rs.25 billion, while Rs.15 billion will come from the SC/ST department and the remaining Rs.10 billion from other departments.

The project was welcomed by all leaders who participated in the meeting except Laha Gopalan, who spearheads the Chengara land agitation.

Landless tribals, who have occupied a rubber estate in Chengara in Pathanamthitta district in August 2007, are still in agitation under the leadership of Gopalan, demanding agricultural land.

“Gopalan was adamant that the Chengara agitation will not be called off unless they are given a minimum of one acre, whereas we have agreed to give up to 10 cents. We told him that he is free to continue with the agitation and nobody will disturb them,” Achuthanandan said.

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