Resettlement of residents along the Cooum resumes

143 families evicted from the banks of the Cooum in Arumbakkam

Published - April 04, 2022 12:34 am IST - CHENNAI

GCC workers helping families in shifting their household articles from their settlements along the Cooum at Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar in Chennnai on Sunday.

GCC workers helping families in shifting their household articles from their settlements along the Cooum at Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar in Chennnai on Sunday. | Photo Credit: K. PICHUMANI

The Greater Chennai Corporation, the Chennai Rivers Restoration Trust, the Tamil Nadu Urban Habitat Development Board and the Water Resources Department have resumed eviction of residents along the Cooum. These residents would be resettled in other parts of the city.

Resettlement of 143 project-affected families in Radhakrishnan Nagar in Arumbakkam was completed on Sunday. As many as 439 affected families will be resettled in the area shortly. Once the resettlement is completed in all the 60 habitations along the river, eco-restoration work is likely to begin.

Planting of saplings had been taken up near the mouth of the river near Swami Sivananda Salai and near Island Grounds. Work on development of fence along the river is expected to gain momentum after the resettlement of all habitations.

Of the 60 habitations identified along the river, families in 51 were resettled in the past few years. Families from two habitations were expected to be resettled shortly.

But the residents of seven habitations along the river have protested and the matter is sub judice.

Corporation Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi said work on the 8.45 km of the embankment along the Cooum had been completed. “Work on construction of the wall along 7 km of the Cooum banks is in progress. Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (CMWSSB) has taken initiatives to prevent sewage inflow,” he said.

Minimum discomfort

After criticism levelled against the manner in which 93 families had relocated from Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar in July last year, the officials said that adequate care had been taken to ensure that the relocation of remaining families from the site happened with minimal discomfort to them.

 All the 439 families to be relocated had been allocated houses in the Tamil Nadu Urban Habitat Development Board tenements in K.P. Park in Pulianthope.

TNUHDB Managing Director M. Govinda Rao, who visited the families during the shifting process, said that unlike in the past, power connection was not disconnected and demolition was not taken up immediately.

“We took utmost care to ensure that there was no panic among the residents. The date of shifting was communicated well in advance,” he said and added that special camps were arranged by departments concerned to facilitate issuance of identity cards in the new address.

Trucks had been arranged by the Corporation to move the belongings while buses were arranged for people to move to their new houses. Mr. Rao said the standard operating procedures followed during this resettlement would be adopted for all such resettlements in the future.

The embankment along many stretches of the Cooum had been damaged in the past few weeks. For instance, pedestrians who were using the new footpath along the South Cooum River Road between Rukmani Lakshmipathi Salai and Adhitanar Salai have complained about the embankment being damaged at several locations.

Traders have encroached several places along the stretch by parking damaged vehicles, which hindered pedestrian movement. The wall had been damaged at other locations also. Posters in the painted wall had increased on many stretches. Residents demanded better monitoring of the pedestrian facilities on many stretches of the river.

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