Three buildings in TNHB Colony were built in 1992; have not been used once

A commercial complex, a community hall and a children’s centre stand unused in TNHB Colony, Velachery, as perfect examples of public resources that have not served the marginalised sections for whose benefit they were created in the first place.

 The two-storied commercial complex that can accommodate more than a dozen shops or more than two dozen smaller vendors, the community hall for weddings and smaller functions and the children’s centre were constructed at TNHB Colony when the locality was created in the late 1980’s.

They now come under Ward No. 177 of the Chennai Corporation.

 The three buildings were completed in 1992 and remarkably, have not been used even once, according to residents Guruswamy, M. Rathinam and Chellam who have been living in the locality for the past two decades and E. Elumalai, who has lived all of his 25 years here.

 “There was nothing but the Velachery Lake and farmlands. From here we could see even the ‘thaangal’ (a water body) at Puzhuthivakkam and beyond. The road that is currently the 100 Feet Road or bypass was nothing more than a single lane in the middle of 1980s,” recalled Guruswamy, a trader and a resident of the locality for nearly 40 years.

The commercial complex and the rest of the buildings were created for the use and benefit of residents of TNHB Colony, where people were given housing plots. As the complex was located at the far end of the Colony, no one was interested in moving into it and opening a shop, Mr. Guruswamy recalled.

The community hall and children’s centre, located in interior areas, fared no better. “All of us witnessed the inauguration of the community hall. Not one of us has seen even one function in it so far. None of us have used the hall for any of our family functions. We have to go elsewhere or hire private halls,” Ms. Rathinam said.

Residents of Kamaraj Street and A.L. Muthali Street said the community hall was located on a piece of land measuring nearly eight grounds.

Residents were of the opinion that the buildings could be tested and if they were strong enough, could be renovated and used. If not, at least the land could be used for creating parks and playfields for children and senior citizens. The abandoned buildings were eyesores, they added.

Officials of Tamil Nadu Housing Board said they had so far tried to auction the properties on 10 occasions, but there were no takers. There were plans to re-classify the land so that they could at least sell it as plots or construct apartments and sell them, but this was a time-consuming process, they added.

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