Residents of Moorthinger Street in Vyasarpadi went on a hunger fast on Monday demanding that the State government grant them pattas for the land on which they have been living for over three generations.

They said that in the 1980s, 432 families had paid Rs. 82/month for 450 sq. ft of land each under the World Bank-funded Madras Urban Development project to the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board. However, only residents of adjacent Sanjay Nagar, B V Colony and Sathya Nagar were given pattas by the government.

The TNSCB had now proposed to construct 920 G+7 apartments with elevators for which Board officials were asking them to vacate the land. “There is no transparency. When we asked them under RTI whether we would be provided alternative accommodation, they replied in the negative. A piece of land was shown to us in Vyasarpadi. That is a burial ground that is under disuse. Even that land has been fenced off by another government department and a few families that had shifted there were driven back,” alleged S. Vasudevan, a resident.

Jeevanandam, an autorickshaw driver said, “We don’t want apartments in which outsiders too would be permitted to live along with us. We have submitted petitions to the District Collector and even MD TNSCB but nothing has happened. They only tell us that the land belongs to the Board and not to the people,” he said.

In response, official sources in the TNSCB said that the land belonged to the Board and that pattas cannot be given to residents. A total of Rs. 90 crore had been sanctioned under the 13 Finance Commission for the project. An alternative piece of land was being readied for the residents of this area in Vyasarpadi.

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