While several residents resort to poll boycott to air their discontent on long-pending civic demands, residents of Erikarai at Vyasarpadi have opted to register their protest in a democratic way.
Close to 3,500 voters of Erikarai have decided to exercise “none of the above” (NOTA) option in the Lok Sabha polls as their plea for land pattas and basic amenities remain unfulfilled for almost three decades.
They have put up a board listing out their demands and expressing their decision to exercise NOTA. The locality falls under North Chennai Lok Sabha constituency.
Nealy 650 families live in the area, most of them in thatched huts. Many residents work as daily wage labourers, while some women earn a livelihood by running small eateries and tailoring units. “Most of the families have been living here for four generations. We have been pleading with officials for pattas for several years but nobody has helped. We also held a fast to draw attention to our demands,” A. Fathima, who has living here for 50 years, said.
About 20 acres of land is available here, and residents are demanding allocation of a small area for each family.
They are against re-location or construction of slum clearance board tenements. The residents said they would not vote for any political party as none of them had taken any efforts to get their demands fulfilled.
“Initially, we wanted to boycott the elections but we do not want our votes to go for waste. Hence, we have decided to use NOTA,” S. Vasudevan, a resident, said.