The rows of pink houses lining the streets of Kizhakkambalam village near Kochi are not up for sale. Around 300 houses have been handed over to the homeless, with another 800 additional houses being refurbished. The project is helmed by Twenty20, the social responsibility initiative of Anna-Kitex group, which aims to make Kizhakkambalam a model village.
The development started in 2012 and covers parameters such as instituting a new panchayat, ensuring food security, teaching agriculture and making roads. For the inhabitants, community service like picking up trash on Sundays and ensuring a clean environment is a must.
According to Sabu Jacob, chief coordinator of Twenty20 and the managing director of Kitex group, making the village hi-tech and sustainable didn’t come easy. He told The New Indian Express,
“We encountered resistance from political parties and anti-socials but were able to overcome those with the support of the people and our perseverance.”
According to Jacob, the aim is to make Kizhakkambalam a model panchayat which can be replicated in all parts of the country. By also providing self-employment opportunities, the crime rate in the village has also dropped by 80%. He told Telangana Today,
“Our main focus area is income generation with particular emphasis on agriculture, sheep rearing, poultry, dairy and fisheries. We have identified 2,500 families in the panchayat for self-employment, and they will be extended assistance based on their interest areas.”
Actor Kamal Hassan will hand over the keys of 37 houses on December 3 at Njaralloor colony in Kizhakkamabalam. Named the ‘God’s Villas’, the 750 square feet houses will have two bedrooms, porch, kitchen, bathroom, toilet, sit-out and a compound wall.
This is not the first such CSR initiative by Twenty20. They opened the country’s first food security market which operates under a closely monitored price mechanism and sells all grocery items at a 50 to 75 percent discount to the market price.