The relocation of over 800 families in Nochi Kuppam on the Marina Beach to temporary shelters as part of construction of new houses under the Urban Housing Component of the Emergency Tsunami Reconstruction Project (ETRP) has begun. The construction of new houses, each at a cost of Rs.5.5 lakh, in Nochi Kuppam is expected to begin in February.

Most of the families in Nochi Kuppam that had huts as their dwelling units have relocated to the temporary shelters 300 m away from Nochi Kuppam.

The huts have been razed down and over 500 dilapidated tenements are yet to be demolished for reconstruction.

M.Ilavarasi (53), a resident of Nochi Kuppam, said her mother was found ineligible for a reconstructed house in Nochi Kuppam.

“My mother and I have been living in the same house in Nochi Kuppam, since I don't have a house of my own. Officials say I am not eligible for a new house. So, my children and grandchildren have also been found ineligible for separate houses.”

Another resident, N.Lakshmi, who did not get a new house, said she was residing at the place for the past five years. “I do not have proper records to support my claim for a reconstructed house,” she added.

G.Muthamma (60), another resident, claimed that her husband had sold her house a few years ago in Nochi Kuppam without her approval. “I do not own a house. But I am not found eligible for a reconstructed house,” she added.

Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board (TNSCB) officials said that the beneficiaries were identified by criteria such as the list compiled by the Revenue Department after the Tsunami, voter identity and ration card.

A team of World Bank officials visited Chennai this week and completed the review on Friday.

The World Bank has asked the State government to speed up the project and complete it by the deadline of December 31, 2011.

However, the State government is likely to seek extension of the period by one year as some of the projects such as reconstruction of the tenements in Nochi Kuppam are yet to take off.

The reconstruction of another 800 houses in Domming Kuppam is likely to begin if the World Bank gives extension of one year. Officials of the TNSCB will try to convince the residents on the need for reconstruction of the tenements.

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