Irulas' greenhouse dreams in Tamil Nadu's Pattiyarkovilpathi wilt as government funding dries up
Around 15 families from the tribe are living in temporary tin sheds by the road in Pattiyarkovilpathi, as construction of greenhouses promised to them by the State government is at a snail's pace.
COIMBATORE: K Pooval (55), an Irula woman, is struggling to pick up the threads of her life from a ramshackle tent. And she is not alone. Around 15 families from the tribe are living in temporary tin sheds by the road in Pattiyarkovilpathi, as construction of greenhouses promised to them by the State government is at a snail's pace.
Pooval's family owned three cents of land and were living in a concrete roof house. Her life and environs changed when she was selected as a beneficiary of the greenhouse scheme. "In 2020, we agreed to build a new house under the Chief Minister Solar Powered Green House project to replace the old one. Officials assured us they would arrange financial assistance from the government. We vacated the house and it was demolished immediately. We moved to a temporary shed hoping to get a new house soon. But more than a year has passed, construction is at the basement stage," Pooval said.
All 15 families in the area narrate a similar experience. "The foundation was laid after we received `30,000 in the first phase. Then I did not receive any funds from the government. We approached officials several times, but there is no reply from them," said M Rukmani (75), another beneficiary.
"We are forced to live by the road with no safety. We faced a lot of difficulties during the rainy season last year. With no hope of getting a home before this year's monsoon, many of us have started carrying out repairs to the sheds. We are living with children in unsafe condition. Though the old house was damaged, we had a place to live safely. But now I am struggling to run days without a house," she added.
The issue is not peculiar to this hamlet. Tribals in the remaining hamlets of Ikkarai Boluvampatti village panchayat in Thondamuthur also face the same issue. As many as 88 houses under the project were announced in 2020 through District Rural Development Authority (DRDA) to the tribal hamlets of Pattiyarkovilpathi, Madakkadu, Pachanvayal, Mullankadu, Sarkarporethi and Jahirporethi. The project was to be complete in 2021. However, only 12 houses were completed, according to A Sathanandham, panchayat president
He said construction is delayed due to lack of funding from the government. "The budget for each house was estimated to be Rs 3 lakh and the State government was to release fund directly to the beneficiary's account based on the work status. The fund was assured in four phases - basement, Lindell, roof and completion. But the funds were not released properly, due to which the houses are not met completion," Sathanandham explained.
When asked, District Collector GS Sameeran said he would look into the issue. Also, he said the district administration is trying to rope in private sponsors to complete the project.