A walk around the slum shows the deplorable living conditions within the slum: there are makeshift bathrooms outside every hut with pipes that drain into small, concrete pits

Jailpettai is one of the oldest slums in the city: residents think the slum came into being around 1920s, making it definitely over 80 years old. While the rest of the city managed to keep pace with the development of trunk infrastructure (good roads, connectivity, availability of potable water and drainage facilities), Jailpettai seems to have missed the bus.

A walk around the slum shows the deplorable living conditions within the slum: there are makeshift bathrooms outside every hut with pipes that drain into small, concrete pits. “We manually dispose of the waste that collects into these pits every few days,” says S. Francis. The slum does not have a functional public toilet within its walls and the residents are forced to use the public toilets at Gandhi market and Marakadai.

“We were given electricity connection only six years ago,” says M.Senthil. Before that, evenings were either spent under kerosene lamp lights or in total darkness. Drinking water lies about half of a kilometre away. “Every morning we fetch water from near Kaveri theatre on pushcarts and several times there have been accidents during these trips ,” says Senthil.

The TNSCB’s housing project will not only bring them concrete houses, but also the comfort of accessible basic amenities. “We too want to move up the ladder and live better lives, but not everybody is strong enough to face the changes to a way of life so old,” says Francis.