A team of visiting World Bank officials have directed Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board to speed up the reconstruction of the tenements on the Marina beach, even while not giving any assurance with regard to the Board's plea for an extension of the deadline.

The team is in the city to review the progress of project under the Urban Housing Component of the Emergency Tsunami Reconstruction Project (ETRP). The deadline for the World Bank-funded project is December 31, 2011. The project would be completed with World Bank funds only if the deadline is extended, said officials of TNSCB.

The World Bank officials visited areas such as Nochi Nagar, Nochi Kuppam and Dooming Kuppam where the reconstruction was proposed. According to TNSCB officials, residents of Nochi Kuppam were demanding a change in design of the tenements to accommodate all the residents. Six months after commencement of relocation of over 800 families in Nochi Kuppam to temporary shelters began, 70 per cent of the residents are yet to vacate the dilapidated houses.

As the relocation is not yet complete, TNSCB has been organising meetings with beneficiaries to convince them of the benefits of the project. The construction of new houses, each at a cost of Rs.5.5 lakh, in Nochi Kuppam was expected to begin in February but the beneficiaries are demanding at least two houses to accommodate all members of the families in the locality, said officials of TNSCB.

The reconstruction of tenements in Nochi Nagar has been delayed and is expected to be completed by September. Dooming Kuppam residents are yet to begin relocation.

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

The huts were razed and over 500 dilapidated tenements are yet to be demolished for reconstruction. The residents, who were reluctant to vacate, have told the officials that they would vacate the houses only if their demands are met.

B.Kabadimaran, a resident, said that the demand of the beneficiaries is to have adequate shelter for all the members of the joint family of each tenement. “Our livelihood will be affected if we are removed from this place. We have been living here for generations,” he said.

“The reconstructed tenements should be given only to the original inhabitants of this area,” said K.Balaraman, another resident.

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