Thiruvananthapuram: Waves of joy swept the shore of Vizhinjam, Kerala, on Monday evening when 320 fisher families were handed over the keys to their new flats at Mathippuram, near the fishing harbour. The housing complex, decorated with lights to celebrate the occasion, was inaugurated by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
The 320 flats were constructed under the second phase of the Rajiv Awas Yojana, which aims to construct 1,032 flats for the rehabilitation of fishing families in Mathippuram by utilising state, Centre and Thiruvananthapuram Corporation funds. To meet the rising construction cost, the Corporation spent Rs 18.73 crore in addition to the Centre’s Rs 18.57 crore and the state’s share of Rs 11.14 crore.
The project is another step closer to the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation’s goal of “a city without homeless”, mayor Arya Rajendran said on the occasion. In the first phase, 222 homes, a community hall, an Anganwadi and a study centre were built. The Corporation plans to build 326 and 164 homes in the third and fourth phases respectively.
The housing towers are located at a convenient distance from the shore with fishing being a major source of livelihood for the majority of the families in the coastal region. Fisheries minister Saji Cherian, who attended the inaugural ceremony, said that the government would also complete the construction of the fish landing centre in Vizhinjam without delay.
In his inaugural address, Vijayan emphasised the Left government’s sustainable approach to development. “Projects like LIFE Mission, which aims to ensure housing for the homeless, are part of this vision. In the third phase of LIFE Mission, the government has prioritised rehabilitation of the landless by ensuring them shelter. The government feels that food, shelter, healthcare and education should be available for all,” he said.
Vijayan also insisted on the significance of big infrastructure development projects along with such welfare projects. “The state government wants to build a ‘Navakerala’ capable of taking on the challenges of the third millennium. The state government has taken social and economic measures to transform Kerala into a knowledge society,” he said.
The basic infrastructure required for such a transformation would be made available by big infrastructure projects like K-rail and K-phone, Vijayan added. “This would attract investment and industries to Kerala, enabling growth in employment opportunities for the educated youth.” He also assured the fishermen of constructing a dry fish processing unit and an apparel production Unit in Vizhinjam.
WHAT IS LIFE MISSION
LIFE Mission is a project aimed at building houses for the homeless by incorporating different schemes and utilising the funds of the state and the Centre. The state government also allocates additional funds for the mission. The criteria for the selection of beneficiaries have been publicised and the applications are received online. The local self-governing bodies play a key role in monitoring and sanctioning funds for the construction of houses. Considering the limited availability of land in densely populated urban and suburban areas, housing towers are built instead of single houses in rural areas.
The project’s transparent and systematic execution has been a success. The progress report is periodically published on the LIFE Mission’s official website. According to the latest report uploaded on the website on February 9, 2,79,131 families have been provided shelter under different schemes since the LDF came to power in 2016.