“Every politician has a promising career. Unfortunately, most of them do not keep those promises.”
Author Jarod Kintz, This Book is Not FOR SALE
Kozhikode: The people of Shanthi Nagar colony can identify with what the author says in his famous book. The best testament of the games that the people’s representatives play are the dilapidated structures that serve as homes for the hapless residents of the colony.
Here is a the picture of how sorry the situation is at the colony: Suhrabi and her grandson stand in front of a small shed that has been made using a few tarpaulin sheets and cardboard boxes. The sheets serve as the roof and the cardboard boxes the walls. The floor is the bare earth.
There can be no other better example to highlight the unkept promise. Hundreds of families residing at the colony suffer a similar fate. If you ask where does misery and hardship reside, you will find them at this address: Shanthi Nagar Colony at West Hill.
In May 2013, while handing over the keys of 218 houses that had been built in the first phase of the much celebrated Shanthi Nagar Model Village project, authorities had assured that the rest of the 340 beneficiaries will soon get their houses. But, till date no steps have been taken to repair over 25 houses and construct the 115 houses planned in the second phase.
“We demolished our old house and have been staying at a relative’s house. They assured us that we would be provided with a new house in the first phase itself. The first phase is over and till date there have been no signs that the second phase will even begin,” says Suhrabi.
The plight of Khadeeja is worst among the have-nots in the colony. She has been staying in a shed with her mentally retarded son and two young daughters. Like Suhrabi she also banked her trust on the authorities.
The array of more than 30 such sheds in the colony illustrates the apathy of the authorities.
They said that the authorities overlooked the families that deserved consideration though they owned proper titled deeds and gave houses to strangers.
Sajan Kodambuzha of Janakeeya Committee says that the families will find it difficult to survive the heavy monsoon.
“The heavy rain along with sea erosion will add to the plight of these homeless families,” he said.
At the mass contact programme that was held on April 27 in the city, several complaints were submitted to Chief Minister seeking urgent action.
“But, the officials concerned are yet to conduct a visit to assess our needs,” said Sajan.
He demanded that the Kerala State Housing Board (KSHB), the nodal agency entrusted for the implementation of the project, should utilise rupees one crore, the balance amount of the first phase, to repair the 25 houses.
“If such a move is initiated the sufferings of the some of the families can be assuaged,” he said.
KSHB, however, blames the government for the delay in the implementation of the second phase. They said that the government is yet to disburse funds for the second phase.
“The works can start if adequate funds are disbursed,” said a KSHB official.
According to KSHB roughly Rs 28 crore is needed to complete the second phase, which includes house, drainage, waste treatment plant, road construction and repairing works.
When asked whether the funds remaining from the phase one of the project can be used to carry out repair works, the official said that they need the CM’s permission for that. “It is the responsibility of the district administration to ensure that follow up works are carried out,” he added.
■ Phase II of Shanthi Nagar Model Village Project yet to begin
■ 340 beneficiaries yet to get houses
■ Repairs works on 25 houses not yet carried out
■ Colony has zero basic facilities
■ KSHB blames the government for the delay in implementation of Phase II
■ Roughly Rs 28 crore is needed to complete the second phase
■ Government yet to disburse funds for Phase II
Criminal Past Haunts Colony
Kozhikode: Getting rid of its notoriety as the infamous Bangladesh Colony has been the most commendable efforts of Shanthi Nagar residents. Drug mafia has been driven away. The residents, however, alleged that the government officials are still demonising the colony.
Sajan Kannampuzha of Janakeeya Committee said that an official at the village office refused to visit the colony saying that she was afraid of the residents.
“Besides, an official with the district collectorate threatened the Janakeeya Committee when they approached him with some complaints. He used derogatory words. Some of us have been even named in several police cases that were registered when we tried to drive out the drug mafia. But despite our efforts we are considered the pariahs by the government officials,” he adds.
Colony Lacks Basic Amenities
Kozhikode: Though many Shanthi Nagar residents got new houses, lack of proper drainage system, roads and proper waste treatment facilities is making life difficult.
According to the project plan, the infrastructure development works can be started only after the completion of construction of houses.
Some of the facilities that has been proposed in the project is a primary health care centre, approach roads, community hall, and other amenities.
“The district administration and city corporation are busy playing the blame game. Instead of raking the mud they should work for the development of the basic amenities in the colony,” laments a resident.
Meanwhile, councillor T Sujan said that efforts are on from the part of the city corporation to initiate development works in the colony.
“By utilising the corporation and MLA fund, we will be launching various development works in the colony. An amount has been sanctioned by the corporation while Rs 8.5 lakh has been allocated from the MLA fund to develop the basic amenities,” Sujan says.