On Sunday evening, two of Jaya’s children were playing cricket with their friends in front of their dilapidated flat inside Karimadam Colony, when they decided to take a trip to the street on the other side. Minutes after they left, a part of the lintel on the third floor came crashing down with a thud.
Soon, all the residents of the 12 houses in the flat came running outside as they feared the whole building would crumble.
This was something they have been expecting for long, ever since cracks began appearing on the roofs and walls of their homes, a few decades back. It is a situation common to all the 72 homes spread across 6 blocks.
“We have been living here ever since the government constructed these flats way back in 1981. All through the past decade, we have been hearing of plans to resettle us. In between, they come with plans to carry out maintenance. The last time such an offer was made, we refused, as these flats are beyond repair as you can see for yourself,” says Ms. Jaya.
During the rains and all the houses, irrespective of the floor on which it is situated, leak.
“Even during summer, the water from the bathroom on the top floors leak into our houses. The walls are wet most of the time, and we sustain electric shocks when we accidentally brush against it. When we called electricians, they could not even locate the earth wires,” says Nazeema, a resident. In most of the houses, patch works are visible all over, but fresh cracks have appeared at other places. Each of the houses, having a hall, one kitchen and one bathroom, has three to four families staying together. In some, cardboards are used to separate the space for two families.
“The District Collector visited us today morning (Monday) and promised that some action will be taken,” says Munna.
Just a street away, new flats as part of the local body’s housing projects, have come up in the past few years, which has created more discontent among the residents here. These families have been away from the radar of such rehabilitation schemes.
“The residents have not yet been considered for the current schemes. They will probably be considered when the Detailed Project Report for future schemes are formulated,” says a Corporation official.