Idukki: 19 families in crisis as forest dept stop construction of new houses under Life Mission

Shihabudheen Thangal

Families live in makeshift houses

Idukki: As many as 19 families in the Kanchiyar panchayat are left in the lurch for the past two years due to an objection of the forest department to build new homes in the lands they possess, that too under the government's Life Mission.

Trusting the word of the state government, the families demolished their existing houses which were under a dire condition. They received the first instalment under the Life Mission, a universal housing project scheme of the Kerala government that incorporates funds from various departments and the PMAY. The families built the base for the news house with the money. Soon, the state forest department served them with a stop memo.

Since they demolished the existing house, which is a requirement to start the building of the new house, they live in makeshift houses.

The families have started an indefinite strike in front of the nearby forest office.

Chacko, a member of the protest council said that though the forest department claims that the land belongs to them and houses cannot be built in the area, earlier, houses were built under projects like EMS Bhavana Padhathi.

The occupants of the land were given possession certificates for the land in 2018 and allotted the houses in 2019.

Sally Jolly, the vice-president of the panchayath, said that the District Forest Officer did not attend the meeting called by the district collector to solve the issue. “The Collector had told us that he had entrusted DFO to submit a report which would be forwarded to us. We haven't received it yet,” she said.

Minister Roshy Augustine said that he will meet the SC/ST welfare minister and find a permanent solution to the problem.

Watch the Malayalam video story here.

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