Coimbatore Corporation on Saturday started demolishing houses built encroaching upon the Muthannankulam tank, a project that has been in the pipeline for nearly a decade.
The Corporation deployed its men and machinery to start the demolition on the south-eastern and eastern side of the tank, off Thadagam Road. Officials from the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board, Tangedco and Coimbatore City Police were present to assist the Corporation.
Sources in the Corporation said the civic body would in the course of next seven days demolish all the 1,577 houses that were built on the tank bund on the eastern side, abutting the Thadagam Road, and northern bund, abutting the Sundapalayam Road.
More than two years ago, the Corporation had kick-started the project by identifying the people who had lived there for a long time and documenting their presence to provide alternative houses. The evicted people would get alternative accommodation in the flats built by the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board.
To 279 of the 1,577 families the Board had allotted houses in its tenements in Anna Naga-Kuniamuthur, 888 families in Malumichampatty, 109 families in Keeranatham, three families in Vellalore, 237 families in M.G.R. Nagar and 61 families in Ukkadam.
The sources said at the start of the demolition, 992 families had vacated their houses and shifted to the alternative accommodation provided to them. Of the vacated 992 houses, the Corporation had demolished 300 by Saturday evening, the sources said.
The rest were in the process of vacating their houses.
The residents were, however, unhappy with the Corporation demolishing their houses.
S. Poongothai, a resident, said at the time of the enumeration exercise to identify the families to be evicted and provided alternative accommodation, the Board had omitted a few families.
While the Board had allotted her a house, it did not allot her daughter, who lived with her son-in-law nearby.
S. Revathi, another resident, said the Board went by the public distribution system (ration) card to identify the beneficiaries.
It should have gone by the property tax book record because though joint families had one ration the members therein lived in separate houses.
The Corporation sources clarified that that there were three categories of people who objected to the demolition – people who were members of a family but sought additional flats for their sons or daughters, people who had rented the encroached houses after the owners had vacated those for the TNSCB flats, and, those who did not want the flats but land.