Exclusive elders’ village inaugurated in Tamil Nadu


Tamaraikulam (Tamil Nadu) : India’s first elders’ eco-friendly village was inaugurated here Monday to house at least 100 senior citizens who were victims of the 2004 tsunami. Much of the funding was by viewers of prominent news channel NDTV.

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Renowned media personality and NDTV chief Prannoy Roy inaugurated the village, 175 km south of Chennai, under the auspices of HelpAge India. It was funded to the extent of Rs.15 million by NDTV viewers.

“It is in the fitness of things that we have begun our endeavour here because the highest number of viewers for our first essay in the arena of television – ‘World This Week’ – was in Tamil Nadu. And it is my privilege to tell you that we are in the process of creating many more such facilities all over India,” Roy told the senior citizens.

Apart from being landscaped beautifully, the dwellings have four immovable beds, a spacious living room, attached toilets with running water and a sit out. A common kitchen, dining and recreational hall are the other facilities.

“I do not agree with the common belief that Indians are miserly when making donations for good causes. Being sure that their money is going to fund a good cause, our viewers contributed handsomely. On this day, it is my duty to assure all donors that their munificence will be put to good and apt use under the watchful eyes of an overseeing committee,” Roy said.

“Beneficiaries who reside in the Elders’ Village are identified by village level groups as well as panchayats. Only the neediest have been housed here,” added Mathew Cherian, chief executive, HelpAge India.

Union Minister of State for Finance S.S. Palanimanickam was slated to inaugurate the facility, but could not make it. The organisers explained that he had been held up on the way back from Tirunelveli, where the ruling DMK conference concluded on Sunday.

Similar facilities are to be created in 660 districts all over India, thanks to a legislation to help senior citizens, a press release issued by Helpage said.

Though the clusters of dwellings have been inaugurated, it will be sometime before they become completely functional. While electricity and water connections are yet to be given final touches, the rest of the groundwork – especially landfills – are yet to be completed.