A fire in a slum on Monday on encroached land of Mambalam canal has made the Chennai Corporation speed up biometric identification of residents on the banks of canals.

Over 50 huts in Thomas Road slum in T. Nagar were destroyed even as residents escaped unhurt in the fire that started at 12.30 p.m.

As the affected residents demanded alternative accommodation, the civic body has planned to recommence biometric identification in the area. Residents of slums on the banks of Mambalam canal were among the first to oppose the biometric identification of slum dwellers a few months ago, alleging bogus entries on the list of beneficiaries of the resettlement initiative.

Even though biometric identification of residents near Mambalam canal was suspended, the Corporation has completed over 80 per cent of the work in other areas. “We will complete the work in six weeks,” said corporation commissioner D. Karthikeyan.

Mr. Karthikeyan said the civic body has taken measures towards relief and rehabilitation of the residents.

The fire accident occurred in the limits of ward no. 117 of the Corporation where the largest number of encroachments on micro drains has been identified. Of the 1186 beneficiaries who were part of the old list in the ward, at least 222 beneficiaries have been found to be ineligible by the civic body. However, the corporation council has not made any decision on removing the names from the list of eligible beneficiaries.

Councillor P. Arumugam of the ward said that the residents had started demanding alternative accommodation. Temporary shelters would be built soon, he added.

The affected families will be given Rs. 5,000 each on Tuesday. However, residents will be able to receive alternative accommodation from the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board only after the completion of biometric identification.

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