Thiruvananthapuram: LIFE project announced by government to provide houses for homeless is considered by experts as a practical solution to convert and rebuild the urban slums into Low Income Group housing projects with sustainable means of income for women folk, health care and palliative care for elderly, crèche and sports facilities for infants and youth.With priority being given to families run by women, single women, households which have ill or old people, girl students below 15 years of age, and victims of riots, natural calamities and domestic violence, it is seen as a major social security measure.
At the moment one of the biggest issues facing Kerala was the problems of nearly 5 lakh homeless people. Of these a majority are landless belonging to the lowest strata of society with very little means of sustenance. Each complex under Life would accommodate 100 families. Costford has implemented a project on similar lines even before the announcement of LIFE mission. They had constructed houses at Kaladimugham and Karimadom colony. “We have successfully implemented housing projects at Karimadom Colony and Kalladimugham in Thiruvananthapuram district. Our fourth phase project in Karimadom colony has been brought under LIFE Mission,” said P B Sajan, Costford director.
“The fourth phase of the project which is integrated with LIFE is complete with anganwadis, libraries and study centres, playgrounds and community halls. The project is based on Laurie Baker’s philosophy of applying low-cost, simple, innovative and practical construction for bigger projects. When the buildings are placed in a staggered manner it provides interactive spaces and improves neighbourly relations,’’ said Sajan. Women’s cluster centres form an integral component of the programme. Chips and pickles manufactured by women would be sold under the Kudumbasree brand.
Tailoring units and other working avenues are also being planned to empower women financially. The ownership of the houses under LIFE will be with the corporation secretary. Beneficiary contribution will be Rs 30,000 and loan linked programmes will be available for regular repayment. The beneficiaries will be able to own the house after seven years. As of now the government has directed all district collectors to identify the land for construction of houses under the Life Mission. The first preference is for government land and only in the event of non availability of land other options would be considered.