Residents were encouraged by a promise by the minister that pattas would be issued
It has been four days since 44-year-old Dakshayini Kalidas left her home in Tiruneermalai, along with her neighbours from her locality in Tirumangai Azhwarpuram. On Sunday, her grand daughter Sahana sound asleep on her shoulders, she was still waiting for a favourable response from the State government. Hers is one among the 100-odd families participating in the indefinite strike that was launched on Thursday, seeking housing rights and ownership documents for the residents.
On Sunday, the families seemed hopeful of a resolution to the issue. Even as members of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) staged a protest in their support at Anna Bus Terminus, an assurance from State Revenue Minister N.D. Venkatachalam arrived indicating a positive outcome. P. Shanmugham, member of the State secretariat of CPI (M), said that the minister had assured them that pattas would be handed over by Monday to 47 families living in ‘malai’ (hill) poramboke and 18 in ‘meikaal’ (pasture lands) poramboke areas.
He said that they were only urging the government to implement in letter and spirit the provisions mentioned in the Government Order No. 142 of the Revenue Department, which guaranteed pattas to people living in ‘poramboke’ (unassessed waste lands) other than ‘eri promboke’ (encroached land on water bodies). The G.O. in turn was based on another G.O. issued in 2006.
Both the present and previous governments were in agreement on issuing the pattas to people living in such ‘poramboke’ lands for more than 5 years, not just in the city or suburbs, but across the State. Had these directives been implemented on time, more than 1 lakh families, especially those belonging to lower-income groups and from marginalised sections, would have benefitted, Mr. Shanmugham said.
Residents who were protesting outside the office of the Revenue Divisional Officer, Tambaram, said the agitation would continue throughout the night. “We have been living in Tirumangai Azhwarpuram for more than 75 years. All that we seek from the government is a patta for the land on which we have lived all our lives,” said Ms. Dakshayini, giving voice to the prevalent sentiment at the venue of the protest.