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PERIL LOOMS: Houses of TNHB in Alagarasan Nagar on Cauvery Road are a disaster waiting to happen. - PHOTO: M. GOVARTHAN
PERIL LOOMS: Houses of TNHB in Alagarasan Nagar on Cauvery Road are a disaster waiting to happen. - PHOTO: M. GOVARTHAN

Karthik Madhavan

Rusted iron rods jut out and concrete flakes fall off: it's a long tale of woe at TNHB flats

ERODE: Tragedy awaits Selvi, a Tamil Nadu Housing Board (TNHB) resident at Alagarasan Nagar on Cauvery Road, in the form of their flat's sunshade. The sunshade has more iron rods than concrete. The danger is not of falling concrete, but of those rusted iron rods perilously close to a web of electric wires. A strong breeze is enough to ignite the damage.

Damaged utensils

This is just one of the residents' problems, though. In the inside, residents' houses are bad, to say the least. Almost every house has concrete flakes falling off the roof, exposing iron rods.

About a year ago, one such flake fell on 75-year-old Kandaiammal, a resident, injuring her head. She had to be rushed to a nearby hospital. At Kanniammal's house, falling concrete damaged utensils.

After that incident, Kanniammal has always kept an eye on the damaged roof. The problem is acute in the bathroom. "Whenever I enter the bathroom or toilet, I ensure I leave after a very short while. I'm afraid of spending even an extra minute there because I fear it might fall anytime." Atop the flats, the story is slightly different, in that, there are no water tanks. The walls of the tanks have either fallen apart, cracked or completely collapsed, residents say.

Water supply

Water to those tanks had been suspended long back, and the residents, even those on the fourth floor, are forced to fetch water manually. "I live on the top floor. I'm 75 and can't carry water. My son, who is working in shifts, is out when the water comes. What do I do," asks Lakshmi, another resident.

Compounding the troubles are broken sewerage lines and growth of vegetation on walls. The State Government constructed the flats mid '80s and handed it over to slum dwellers under hire-purchase scheme.

Handover

A Housing Board official says his Department is not responsible for carrying out the repair, and that the residents have to carry it out themselves. He adds that there is a proposal to hand over the flats to the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board for maintenance.

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