The Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) and the Tamil Nadu Urban Habitat Development Board have planned to start the relocation and resettlement of families from Kannappar Thidal in Periamet. The vast area currently has a large number of encroachments, including houses and shops
In April, the State government had announced that it would construct additional houses on 1.83 acres of land in Kannappar Thidal, which falls under the Egmore constituency in ward 57, by using land owned by the Corporation. After the DMK government came to power, residents here had demanded in situ redevelopment of homes, instead of resettlement to tenements far away. However, the civic body has now planned to resettle 115 families currently housed at the homeless shelter in Kannappar Thidal, to new homes in the vicinity, instead of in situ redevelopment.
D. Selvam, a resident, said 139 families have been demanding alternative housing from the government, in addition to the families in the homeless shelter in Kannappar Thidal. “I am a street vendor. I cannot afford a house in the city. My family is concerned about the safety of children as snakes frequent the neighbourhood. Women in our settlement have requested the government to give them new houses in the area. Some families were shifted to Kannagi Nagar in Thoraipakkam, but those who moved there have lost their livelihoods. Some even lost their lives because of the crime rate there, while the safety of women in Kannagi Nagar remains another problem. So we have requested the government to give us houses within a 2 km radius of where we live now,” he said.
Umavathy, a resident at the homeless shelter, said even the shelter was damaged. “During the monsoon, the building is not safe. We want a new house before the monsoon this year. The officials have agreed to help us. We are ready to move to a new house within a 2 km distance, as my husband is a conservancy worker in the area. He may lose his daily wages if he gets a home far away,” she said.
After resettlement of the homeless residents is completed, the redevelopment of Kannappar Thidal, with a range of civic infrastructurural facilities is expected to take off.