Many residents of Kannagi Nagar resettlement project have sold their houses or moved out

Over 50 per cent of the beneficiaries of the State government’s massive resettlement project in Kannagi Nagar have moved out.

A few days ago, when officials of Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board (TNSCB) surveyed the tenements, they found that of the 15,656 beneficiary families, at least 7,500 were “missing”. The tenements of the missing beneficiaries were occupied by others who are not on the list of original beneficiaries.

TNSCB will now commence a massive exercise to trace the missing beneficiaries who most likely returned to their original localities.

Those who have migrated to other areas have allegedly sold their houses at prices ranging from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 60,000.

“I bought this house for Rs. 5,000 a few years ago,” said A. Kalaiarasi who migrated here from Rameswaram.

As the houses are not sold through the formal process of registration of a sale deed, the prices are affordable, an official said. “The last sale in our locality was about three months ago. A house was sold for Rs. 60,000. The price has gone up to Rs. 80,000. But there seem to be no takers now,” said E. Devendran, another resident.

The tenements in Kannagi Nagar were constructed by TNSCB more than a decade ago. Most of the residents were those evicted for infrastructure projects or those affected by calamities. The houses were allotted to beneficiaries in 2000-2001.

Residents said poor civic infrastructure like bad roads and irregular water and power supply, coupled with lack of basic facilities like healthcare drove them away from the tenements.

There is no decent maternity clinic in the vicinity, a resident pointed out. Pregnant women, the elderly and children who need urgent medical help have to travel all the way to Government Royapettah Hospital or Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital.

Residents are also worried about the lack of livelihood that leads to family problems and an increase in suicide rates among the residents here. The presence of a police station in the vicinity has contributed to fewer crimes but the quality of life is yet to improve, residents said.

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