Chennai

421 families evacuated from Chintadripet

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The drive, part of the Cooum river eco-restoration project, to go on for 4 days

For Kalavathi (name changed) — a Class XI student of a government-aided English medium school in Chintadripet — the future looks bleak.

The process of evacuating close to 421 families, including hers, residing in Navalur Nedunchezhian Nagar in Chintadripet, and shifting them to Perumbakkam started on Wednesday morning.

“I study in an English medium school now, but in Perumbakkam it is a Tamil medium school. Here, our teachers are strict and we are given proper attention. It’s not the same case there,” said Kalavathi, who was clad in her school uniform and was watching her parents carry their belongings before the demolition of their house.

On Wednesday morning, over 100 policemen were deployed in Navalur Nedunchezhian Nagar to facilitate the evacuation drive without any law and order problem. The families are being evacuated as part of the Cooum river eco-restoration project.

The drive will go on for the next four days, until the encroachments are razed down and the occupants are shifted to Perumbakkam. According to officials, over 7,500 families living along the river have been evacuated from different parts of the city this year.

‘We need time’

Meanwhile, residents said that they did not have a problem leaving the place. “But we are only asking time till the completion of this academic year. Otherwise our children’s education will be affected as they cannot travel daily. We conveyed this concern to the officials last month, but there has been no response,” said Ramesh, a resident.

There are over 500 children studying from L.K.G to Class XII in the locality. Out of this, over 50 are in classes X, XI and XII. Some children have been admitted to private schools under the RTE Act. “We are not sure how they can be shifted. There are no private schools in the proximity of Perumbakkam,” said K. Madhu, a resident.

A study by the Information and Resource Centre for the Deprived Urban Communities, in Perumbakkam, revealed that on an average, the children — especially those who continued studying in their previous locality — had to travel over 40 km to and from their school everyday.

“These children continue in their old schools due to non-availability of English as a medium of instruction in schools in Perumbakkam. Some study in private schools and those in XI and XII don’t shift the school till they complete XII standard,” said Vanessa Peter, policy researcher at the centre.

Meanwhile, a senior corporation official said that three buses were already being operated from Perumbakkam to a school on Anna Salai.

“If need arises, we will introduce buses to other schools too. Last week, we took some of the residents to Perumbakkam and showed them the houses and the facilities nearby. Many of them agreed to shift only after this,” said an official.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 12:04:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/421-families-evacuated-from-chintadripet/article25618507.ece

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