Families whose houses were removed in a drive against encroachments and those of workers in quarries and stone crushing units demand pattas

A protest by families displaced in Tambaram after their houses were removed in a drive against encroachments entered its second day on Friday.

Joined by families of workers engaged in quarry and stone crushing units in Tiruneermalai, the protesters demanded housing rights. On Thursday, the families, led by South Chennai district unit of All India Kisan Sangh (AIKS), assembled outside the office of the revenue divisional officer, Tambaram. By Friday evening, they indicated they would remain at the spot through the night.

The 14 displaced families belong to Mannoorankulam in West Tambaram. Their houses were removed to make way for a pumping station that is part of the underground drainage projects. The other group of more than 100 families have been engaged in quarries and crushing units for nearly five decades and live in thatched huts.

They stayed overnight on Thursday and continued to remain at the spot till Friday evening, asserting they would not leave until they received their housing rights.

AIKS members told mediapersons the families in Tiruneermalai had submitted their decades-long grievances to representatives at all levels of the government, including ministers and the district administration. Tiruneermalai town panchayat too had passed a resolution in support of the residents’ demand for pattas. Despite this, the government had not taken any action, the members said.

Revenue department staff said in the case of both the Mannoorankulam and Tiruneermalai families, as per rules, it was not possible to issue pattas as the land on which they had constructed their huts were classified as ‘unassessed waste and grazing waste lands’meikaal poramboke. However, they had summoned all land records so they could arrive at an arrangement, the staff said, adding they were completely in favour of issuing pattas to them at the earliest.

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