Residents of EWS tenements in Manali New Town in Tiruvallur near Chennai are a worried lot. They have been asked to vacate their homes by Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority which claims that the structures are in a dilapidated condition.
“We took possession of the house only in 2011. Though we had an allotment, we could pay only a portion of the amount due to them. Two years ago, we finally managed to pay the dues and moved in here and now, we have been asked to shift again,” said Pramila, a resident.
Manali New town was developed by CMDA and these 400-odd tenements in Sadayankuppam revenue village were constructed by the Tamil Nadu Housing Board. According to sources in the CMDA, the houses having plinth area of 242 sq ft were sold from 1988 onwards to people belonging to economically weaker sections. At that time, the cost of each house was only Rs. 24,000.
“The buildings are more then 30 years old and need to be demolished. They are in a very dilapidated condition. We have asked the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board to demolish and construct G+3 structures. Notices have been issued to residents stating that the buildings are unsafe. Already, at least half the tenements are unoccupied,” the official said.
Very few of the original owners reside in the apartments. “My tenant has stopped giving me rent ever since the notice was put up near the block. I can’t even collect the meagre Rs. 500 a month that I used to get. I had taken a loan to install a motor to draw water from the sump. Now, that investment has gone waste and I cannot even repay the amount,” said a house owner, who did not want to be named.
Residents demanded that alternative housing be provided to them. They also said that the new houses should be given to them free of cost. “We were told that houses would not be given to us and instead, other people would be given accommodation here,” said a resident.
Sources in the CMDA said that they had asked TNSCB to interact with the residents, take a survey and then demolish the houses for reconstruction. “Rent would be provided to the residents for the time that they live elsewhere,” said a source in the TNSCB.