Yet another apartment being constructed by the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board (TNSCB) at Ammankulam here to relocate slum-dwellers from waterbodies sank nearly a foot early on Sunday.

This is the second such incident in a fortnight at the same site. Another apartment sank 40 cm on April 3, raising apprehensions over the safety of the tenements.

After inspecting the site and overseeing measures to prevent further sinking of the multi-storeyed tenement, a senior TNSCB official said the right block (Block IV B) sank 25 cm. A loose pocket of soil below the nearly 20 foot-deep foundation might have caused the sinking. Iron poles had been provided as support to prevent tilting of the building.

After monitoring the situation throughout the day, the official said in the evening that the building had not sunk further. The sinking of the block resulted in a packing between the two pillars of the blocks coming off. It gave the impression of a half-foot wide crack right from the third floor under construction to the ground floor.

The official, however, clarified that it was not a crack, but only an expansion of the joint between two separately constructed pillars.

The TNSCB official said that discussions would be held with experts on whether the building could be raised back to its original position and the soil strengthened. There were plans already to strengthen all the buildings.

The tenement that sank on April 3 was being demolished, he said. The buildings that sank are among 936 dwelling units being constructed at Ammankulam. The TNSCB is constructing 1,608 dwelling units at a cost of Rs.49 crore, under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. Each multi-storeyed tenement has two blocks in a ground floor plus three floors arrangement. Each block has 24 dwelling units. The size of each unit is 269 sq.ft.

The second incident was reported even as the TNSCB was inquiring into the reasons for the first episode. During his visit to the site on April 4, a day after the first building sank, Minister for Slum Clearance Board and Accommodation Control Suba Thangavelan had said that one of the reasons could be a change in the water course of a nearby canal and the resultant percolation in the aquifer.

The multi-storeyed tenements are being built on what officials describe as a dried-up tank.

Keywords: slum dwellers