India: Irulas' greenhouse dream wilt as government funding dries up

K. Pooval (55), an Irula woman, is struggling to pick up the threads of her life from a dilapidated tent, and she is not alone. Around 15 families from the tribe live in temporary tin sheds by the road in Pattiyarkovilpathi, as the 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 lived in a concrete roof house. Her life and environment 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, while construction is still 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 conditions. 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.

Read the complete article at www.newindianexpress.com.


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