The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government in 2003 had rejected the site at Ammankulam here, where a multi-storeyed apartment block under contruction by the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board (TNSCB) is ‘sinking', said S.M. Velusamy, former Housing Minister and AIADMK MLA from Palladam.
Talking to The Hindu over phone from Chennai, he said in 2003, when N. Balaganga was chairman of the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board (TNSCB), 500 tenements were allotted for Coimbatore and the Ammankulam site chosen. When it was referred for civil engineers' opinion, they declared it not feasible for construction as there was scope for accumulation of water and possibility of percolation from nearby canal and aquifer changes. The project was shifted to Pillayarpuram, near Kuniamuthur. Officials were consulted about other alternative ways to retain the project, but ruled out such a possibility. All these had been recorded in the file.
Mr. Velusamy said he had given a request in writing to the Speaker for raising the issue in the Assembly.
When the AIADMK government's decision was pointed out to Minister for Slum Clearance Board Suba Thangavelan, who visited Ammankulam on Sunday, he said “construction was taken up only after soil testing.” Strong foundation was ensured after excavating loose soil for more than 3.75 metres. The TNSCB had to construct tenements for slum dwellers “only on sites that are neglected by others.”
Communist Party of India (Marxist) activists staged a demonstration here on Sunday raising questions on the site selection and quality of construction. District Secretary of the Communist Party of India M. Arumugam questioned the rationale behind choosing a site close to a water body.
State Secretary of the BJP G.K.S. Selvakumar pointed out that serious objections had been raised on construction of tenements along and close to water bodies.