Pavement dwellers and people staying on encroached land will form the first group in the city to get Resident Identity Cards (RIC) under the National Population Register (NPR) programme so that their rehabilitation and resettlement can be speeded up.

The Chennai Corporation has chosen those living on ‘objectionable land' – areas on which habitations are not permitted such as government land, poromboke land, footpaths, waterbodies and canals – for issuing smart cards in the first phase. For this, it has sought the help of a team from the NPR in using biometric equipment to capture and store images of irises and fingerprints of those to be included in the register. The team will start work shortly.

The Corporation will issue the Smart Cards to all residents of 6,000 encroachments along micro-drains such as the Mambalam Canal and Captain Cotton Canal. Other drains along which encroachments have been identified as the Vyasarpadi, Kodungaiyur, Jawahar, MGR, Egankipuram, Jafferkhanpet, Guindy Estate, Chellamal, Nungambakkam, Trustpuram, Raj Bhavan, Reddikuppam and TVS canals.

The smart cards will also be used to identify beneficiaries of the rehabilitation and resettlement project to be undertaken by the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board in June. After the completion of the first phase, all other residents of the city will receive RICs as part of the NPR.

Biometric identification of homeless and residents of ‘objectionable land' has gained priority as the TNSCB has asked the Chennai Corporation to submit the first list of beneficiaries by next month. Chennai Schools or corporation community halls near the slum areas on ‘objectionable land' will provide space for hosting the data collection centres.

In June, the TNSCB would rehabilitate 12,000 such families in Okkiyam Thoraipakkam and Perumbakkam. Improvement work such as removing encroachments and widening roads would follow the rehabilitation work.

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Aloysius Xavier LopezJune 28, 2012

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