Aranmula-based couple Haneefa and Jasmine donated their 28-cent ancestral land to Life Mission, after they saw the difficulty faced by their neighbours to bury a family member.

Kerala couple handing over land deed to Minister Veena George
news Life Mission Monday, May 30, 2022 - 12:18

In a scenario slightly resembling the 2011 Malayalam film Adaminte Makan Abu, where a couple strives so honestly to go to the Muslim pilgrimage Hajj, Aranmula residents Jasmine (48) and Haneefa (57) — married for over three decades — were also making arrangements for their long-cherished dream of going on the pilgrimage. They were all set to sell their land to raise funds for the pilgrimage when they came across the plight of a family, their neighbours, who were living in a rented house and found it difficult to lay to rest the body of a family member who died recently.

That was when the couple had second thoughts about the pilgrimage. Instead of going on the Hajj, which is considered to be the fifth pillar of Islam, and is mandatory for every adult Muslim to embark on the journey, the couple decided to donate its 28-cent ancestral land to Life Mission, the Kerala government's flagship housing scheme for the landless.

"We were planning to sell our property and use the funds for Hajj pilgrimage. But, in the past couple of months, we saw some incidents in which certain families found it difficult to cremate their family members as they don't own property. Such incidents made us rethink our Hajj plans," Haneefa told PTI. He said that a person passed away in his locality recently and a community leader donated his four cents of land to that family to conduct last rites and burial.

"After that incident, we decided to make use of the land to help those in need instead of going on the Hajj," Haneefa said.

Local Self-Government Minister MV Govindan hailed the decision of the couple and said it was “an inspiration to society”. Minister Govindan said, “The couple is an inspiration to the forward journey of society which needs to embrace every human being. People like Haneefa and Jasmine have set an example of humanity and are role models for society," Govindan said.

Health Minister Veena George, on Sunday, May 29, visited the house of the couple and received the agreement to hand over the property for the Life Mission from the couple on behalf of the Aranmula Grama panchayat. The land, owned by Haneefa’s wife Jasmine, was received under the 'manasodithiri mannu' campaign of the Left government, Govindan said.

"Till now, the government has received 926.75 cents of land in 13 locations for the Life Mission scheme. Also in 30 locations, 830.8 cents of land have been assured for the Life Mission. The project has also received a sponsorship of Rs 25 crore to construct 1,000 houses," the Minister said. Govindan also said that he hopes more people would come forward to help the poor and draw inspiration from the couple.

The government has till now handed over 2,95,006 houses to beneficiaries under the Life Mission scheme and 34,374 houses are currently under construction. There are 27 housing complexes that are also under construction, he said.

In 2021, the Life Mission ran into a controversy after Congress MLA Anil Akkara filed a complaint alleging irregularities in funds in connection with the UAE Red Crescent Societies, which the Kerala government entered into an agreement with to implement the Life Mission. On the basis of the complaint, the CBI registered a case. He alleged that Unitac Builders — which was given a contract to build houses under the scheme — had paid Rs 3.80 crore to gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh and others in the UAE Consulate for giving them the project and acting as liaisons. The CBI’s case is that Swapna took the money at the behest of M Sivasankar, an IAS officer who was Principal Secretary to Pinarayi Vijayan.

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