KOCHI: It’s a race against time for Kizhakkambalam. Twenty20 - the corporate social responsibility arm of Rs 1,500-crore-worth Anna-Kitex group, which is ruling the panchayat - is ticking all boxes one at a time in creating a model village as the deadline in 2020 fast approaches.
Twenty20, which has effectively brought together a sea of change in the panchayat, is confident the deadline will be met.
Here it has become a people’s movement unforeseen in the country’s developmental history. “When we started in 2012, our idea was to create a model village which can be replicated anywhere,” says Jacob, chief coordinator of Twenty20 and the managing director of Kitex group.
What began as a developmental initiative to cover a few parameters in the village soon grew in scope to include the entire development spectrum.
“We encountered resistance from political parties and anti-socials but were able to overcome those with the support of the people and our perseverance. We know nation-building is possible only through the development of villages. Now that we are half our way from achieving our dream, we believe we will be able to accomplish the dream of the model village by 2020,” says Jacob.
Twenty20 has ensured sustainable community growth by addressing issues such as housing, food security, infrastructure development, mother and childcare, and sanitation. The country’s first food security market was opened by Twenty20, which functions under a closely monitored price mechanism.
All grocery items, vegetables, fish, meat and confectionaries are sold at a 50 to 75 per cent discount to the market price.
“Twenty20 will be able to achieve its vision. It is a great venture that lends a hand to the downtrodden section of society,” says Joshy George, a cartoonist and a Kizhakkambalam resident.
Jacob points out, since its inception, Twenty20 has been focusing on food security, housing, agriculture and road development. “It’s an ongoing process which will achieve self-sufficiency by 2020. After we achieve self-sufficiency, we will focus on other areas of development,” Jacob says.
The corporate house taking up the welfare of the people and winning 17 out of the 19 seats during the 2015 local body polls has not amused the political parties. Karipra Aliyas, the Kizhakkambalam Congress constituency president said, “Twenty20 is deceiving people and has only taken forward the activities the Congress had once begun. They are performing a dictatorial, oppressive rule in Kizhakkambalam.”
He says he is sceptical about the authenticity of the Twenty20’s claims and the practicality of making Kizhakkambalam a model village.
People in the panchayat, who voted for Twenty20, are happy though. “Analysing what Twenty20 have done so far, they have rendered great services to the residents. They have wiped out poverty from the panchayat. Like any other endeavour, they have some drawbacks but their overshadowing merits makes me believe they can turn Kizhakkambalam into a hi-tech village,” says Valsamma Joseph, retired headmistress of St Antony’s School in Kizhakkambalam.
Kamal Hassan to hand over 37 houses today
Actor Kamal Hassan on Monday will hand over the keys of 37 houses at Njaralloor colony in Kizhakkamabalam. The housing project is another initiative of Twenty20, wherein it will convert Laksham Veedu colonies in the panchayat into proper houses with contemporary look and feel of villas seen in the cities.
The 750-sqft-houses named ‘God’s Villas’ will have two bedrooms, car porch, kitchen, bathroom, toilet, sit-out and a compound wall. The Njaralloor project is the first phase of the project, which is built at a cost of Rs 6 crore. A release said Twenty20 has spent H5.26 crore and the remaining H74 lakh is from the state government’s contribution for the conversion of Laksham Vedu to a single house. Twenty20 has, by now, handed over 300 houses for the homeless, and another 800 houses were refurbished.