For four years, S. Ramachandran has been struggling to get financial help to set up his petty shop. Despite several pleas and petitions, he thinks he has been denied the loan because of his caste and address.
Ramachandran lives in Kannagi Nagar, Thoraipakkam after he moved from Purasawalkam, a few years ago. “The bank manager says that he will not sanction loan to residents of Kannagi Nagar. I want to set up a photocopy shop. He doesn’t even let us step inside the bank,” said Ramachandran who along with several other residents of Kannagi Nagar have applied for the financial assistance under the Tamil Nadu Adi Dravidar Housing and Development Corporation (TAHDCO). “This loan was created to help us. But we are not able to avail it for reasons best known to the authorities,” said R. Shanmugham, another resident from Kannagi Nagar.
‘HC order not followed’
Ramachandran said that he also filed a case in the Madras High Court last year that directed the authorities to disburse loans to beneficiaries in four weeks time, which too has not been implemented. Following his complaint, officials from the National Commission for Scheduled Castes visited the Manager of Indian Bank, Thoraipakkam and the Joint Commissioner of Police on Friday. “We are currently enquiring into the matter,” said an official.
The financial assistance was implemented by TAHDCO for the socio-economic development of schedule caste and tribes in the State. Families whose income is less than Rs. 18,460 per year in rural areas and Rs. 28,536 per year in urban areas can avail the loan. While Adi Dravidars are given subsidy of 30 per cent, scheduled tribe youths are entitled to a subsidy of 50 per cent.
A study conducted by Housing and Land Rights Network, a voluntary organisation, revealed that nearly 70 per cent of the residents in Kannagi Nagar belong to the SC, ST and MBC groups. Of this, nearly 55 per cent in Kannagi Nagar resettlement colony are SCs.
Relocation cost them jobs
The study further revealed that 79.3 per cent of the respondents had lost their employment immediately after the relocation because of the distance between Kannagi Nagar and their workplace.
“The colony is becoming a ghetto,” said Stephen Raj, another resident. “Not only this loan, they found it extremely difficult to avail any other assistance from the government,” he added. However, an official of TAHDCO said they were awaiting funds to sanction the loans.