Ronglee Housing Scheme, announced by Hon’ble Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on 3rd September 2013 at Mela Ground Kalimpong was sanctioned by the Backward Classes Welfare Department and has been implemented successfully. The Beneficiaries were provided with Rupees Two Lakhs support from The Government of West Bengal Ronglee Housing Scheme. This has become very very important for the Lepchas as they are one of the most economically backward communities of the State, and many of the families until recently were living in very very sub-standard houses. Many were staying in dilapidated houses made of Bamboo slits and old wooden structures.
The house symbolizes many things to the family, and in particular gives confidence to the owners especially to the mother of the household. Today the changes can be observed in their appearance and approach to life. Whereas earlier family members especially the women displayed low levels of confidence due to poor quality of their houses, today their levels of self assurance and assertiveness has gone up.
The Kingchoom Daarmit’s decision to provide Rong Lee Housing Scheme to poorest of the poor families is highly generous and demonstrates her understanding of the issues faced by indigenous marginalized micro minority which reflects her intellectual acumen and vision of long-term growth strategy to provide inclusive governance. The children tell it all. During the survey period families looked demoralized and sad, but later during the time of the construction and after completion the children were the happiest lot.
The Rong Lee Housing Scheme has direct impact on thousand families covering almost 5200 people including children. The housing scheme did not just provide houses to poorest of the poor but has given hopes and opportunity to the marginalized section of the society to have positive and progressive outlook to life. It is hoped that schemes like this will have major impact on the socio-economic growth of the community. Other important sectors and respective schemes, for example in education, where the community lags far behind can subsequently be taken up with greater expectation of success, because the foundations and basic challenges of the family are being met through Kingchoom Daarmit’s vision. The children from families whose housing structure is poor tend to develop complexes causing high dropout rates at early stages and preventing completion of basic education. The Lepcha community in particular has a very high dropout rate right at the primary level.
Mayel Lyang Lepcha Development Board (WBMLLDB), wishing to carry forward the vision of Hon’ble Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Kingchoom Daarmit, is trying its best to reach out to the poorest of the poor and spread out to the 200 Lepcha villages. Located in remote areas many of these villages are almost three hours walk from the road head. The scheme for the first phase was undertaken in the districts of Darjeeling and partially Jalpaiguri.
The difference that was made with vision of Kingchoom Daarmit, a few examples :
WBMLLDB made the implementation guideline to select beneficiaries and it should be acknowledge that Indigenous Lepcha Tribal Association provided full assistance to WBMLLDB to implement the program smoothly and successfully.