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Madurai-based NGO building houses for quake-hit in J&K

Special Correspondent

Help a Child of India has so far built 150 seismic-proof concrete houses

— Photo: Nissar Ahmad

PITCHING IN: Volunteers of Help a Child of India involved in reconstructing houses for last year's earthquake victims in Dachi vllage of Uri.

DACHI (URI): A group of volunteers from Tamil Nadu is giving a new start to the lives of a number of people whose houses here were flattened in last year's earthquake.

A 65-member team of engineers and other workers from the Madurai-based NGO Help a Child of India is all set to hand over the possession of seismic-proof concrete houses to scores of families in this remote village near the Line of Control. The technology being used by them is a new addition to the traditional and existing structure of houses in the region.

The NGO, according to its Construction Manager R. Radhakrishnan, has identified 310 houses in Dachi village and 90 in Nowpora, the worst-hit villages in the region. Both the manpower and the machinery has been transported from the South. A two-room house is constructed at a cost of Rs. 1.50 lakh and the owner is expected to help the builders in picking up the load only where there is no proper access. "We started the construction in January this year and we are going ahead with our programme. It is going on smoothly," said Mr. Radhakrishnan. One hundred and fifty houses have already been built in Dachi.

Departing from the traditional use of stone and mud, the NGO is using full block bricks which are considered quake-proof.

These are made of sand and cement and are being laid by a machine from Coimbatore. Cement is being transported from Kathua in Jammu.

The volunteers are happy to help the quake survivors. "I am very happy to work here," Arun, one of the volunteers, told The Hindu .

He has been away from home for nine months. Though his family is worried because of the violent situation in Kashmir, he has assured them he was safe.

Mr. Radhakrishnan said that by the end of December this year they are expecting to complete the task.

The locals are also happy. "We are grateful to them. They have come from a far-off place to help us," said Zaman Khan, a Dachi resident. "And they are giving us the best," he added.

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