3,936 flats in Perumbakkam come up 7 years after land acquisition

More than seven years after it acquired 120 acres of land at Perumbakkam near Sholinganallur, the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board (TNSCB) has completed the construction of 3,936 flats for the homeless and urban poor living along waterways in the city.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa recently inaugurated the tenements through video conferencing.

According to TNSCB officials, the process of selecting the beneficiaries has already begun and a biometric system would rule out duplication of applications. The Chennai Corporation has been entrusted with the responsibility of selecting the beneficiaries, the officials added. The beneficiaries are expected to move into the flats in a month.

The tenements have been constructed at a cost of Rs. 175 crore under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. In February 2010, the ground-breaking ceremony for the project was held and preliminary works began.

The tenements have elevators, and are reported to be the first project by the Board to have this facility. However, work on installing elevators in most of the blocks is still on. Individual sewer connections are also incomplete.

Every block has 196 flats over eight floors and each flat’s plinth area is 390 square feet including a living room, a kitchen, a bedroom, bathroom and a balcony. Some of the flats do not have a balcony. TNSCB officials pegged the market rate of each flat around Rs. 5.5 lakh.

The beneficiaries would have to pay Rs. 2,000 at the time of moving into the flat and a monthly rent of Rs. 250. Once the final list of beneficiaries is prepared, they would speed up the the pending works, officials said.

About 50,000 families live along the city’s principal waterways of the Adyar and Cooum rivers, and Buckingham Canal. According to TNSCB officials, there were plans to construct close to 30,000 flats in high-rise tenements. More than 5,000 of them were completed at Okkiyam Thoraipakkam (Kannagi Nagar), recently.