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Habitat And Partners To Build 180 Homes For Maharashtra Flood Victims In India

Indian TV personality to lead a build in Raigad district worst hit by July 2005 floods

Leading the fight against poverty housing: Indian TV celebrity Pooja Bedi leads the “bhoomi puja” rituals for the flood-relief project in Kondivite

MAHARASHTRA, 3rd April 2006: Flood victims in the western Indian state of Maharashtra can look forward to 80 new houses in a US$220,000 project by Habitat for Humanity and its partners Rotary Club of Bombay and Christian organization Jankalyan Trust.

The “bhoomi puja” or groundbreaking ceremony was held recently in the village of Kondivite in Raigad district, Maharashtra. Indian TV celebrity Pooja Bedi added glitz to the occasion in the community of Mahad, about 190 km. from Mumbai, when she led the rituals and launched the build site. Thereafter, about 150 local young people and masons excavated the land.

Construction has since begun for the houses which will be about 400 sq. ft. each and made of brick walls and tiled roofing. Bedi, a former actress and writer, is leading the build in which homeowners will work alongside volunteers in constructing the houses.

Volunteers from corporations, local youth groups, civic organizations, church groups and college students will work on the Kondivite project which is scheduled to be completed by June 2006.

This project, called “BUILD with Pooja Bedi”, is a special program under Habitat’s Maharashtra Flood Response Initiative.

Symbolic: Dr Srirang Prabhu laying the foundation brick at the launch of the Kalyan project.

Under the US$1.5 million initiative, construction is underway to build least 1,000 houses for families affected by the torrential floods and landslides in late July 2005 in Maharashtra and its capital Mumbai city. Jankalyan Trust has also teamed up with Habitat in this work.

Rotary Club of Bombay is Habitat’s partner in indiaBUILDS, a nation-wide campaign to provide better homes for 250,000 poor people by 2010.

Jankalyan Trust will implement the Kondivite project and take charge of community development after house construction.

About 200 km from the Kondivite site, inauguration of another Habitat-Rotary Club project began on 11th March. This project involves the building of 100 houses for 500 flood victims in the village of Raita in Kalyan district, Maharashtra.

The event was attended by Kalyan district governor Dr Srirang Prabhu, representatives from Habitat, Rotary Club of Kalyan, home partners as well as community leaders.

The districts of Raigad and Kalyan in Maharashtra were among the worst hit in the July 2005 floods which claimed the lives of at least 1,000 people. The floods also damaged or destroyed at least 10,000 homes according to estimates.