More than 50 years after the State Forest Department renounced claims to a patch of land measuring a little over 12 acres in Ranganathapuram, West Tambaram, residents living there are yet to get pattas (land ownership documents).

The over six hundred families living in Wards 7 to 9 of Tambaram Municipality have suffered without their documents as they are unable to secure loans from nationalised banks after mortgaging their property.

N. Sivalingam (70), among the oldest residents of the locality, recalled that residents had begun settling in the area as early as 1954 when former Chief Minister K. Kamaraj inaugurated a well in the area.

Citing a copy of The Fort St. George Gazette published on April 6, 1955, Nagoor Gani, a former councillor, said the residents and activists been fighting for decades seeking pattas. The notification states that 12.07 acres of land, originally classified as a reserve forest as per a1890 notification, “shall cease to be reserve forest.”

Ever since, we have been urging the municipality as well as the revenue department to help us get our documents,” Mr. Gani said.

Municipal officials said issuing pattas was not within their powers and that a council meeting had passed a unanimous resolution in January 2011 urging the revenue department to do the needful.

Enquiries with the revenue department of the district administration revealed issuing the pattas to Ranganathapuram residents was listed as a high priority and that work was on. Elected representatives and members of different political parties were in agreement on this, the officials said, adding they were hopeful of fulfilling the residents’ wishes soon.

Kancheepuram Collector K. Bhaskaran said the district administration was going through revenue records.

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