Chennai

Residents of K.P. Park tenements ask for houses to be allotted to them

Senior government officials inspected the tenements on Thursday

Senior government officials inspected the tenements on Thursday   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The residents, who were shifted out as the tenements were being renovated, say they must be given their houses first, and the government must not convert the tenements into a COVID-19 care centre

Even as senior government officials inspected the ongoing work at the K.P. Park Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board (TNSCB) tenements, to convert the blocks, which are located in Pulianthope, into a COVID-19 Care Centre, the original allottees want the government to provide them with houses first, as they are living in tin sheds in unhealthy conditions.

There are 864 houses in the new blocks of the K.P. Park TNSCB tenements. “Over 1,500 families used to reside in 35 blocks at the K.P. Park TNSCB tenements. In 2008, the Board began demolishing the blocks after they were found to be in a dilapidated condition, and started constructing new ones,” said Kumar, a resident

Over 100 families were shifted to tin sheds adjacent to the tenements. “They have a common bathroom and toilet and the living conditions are bad. A few people living here have also tested COVID-19 positive. There is no physical distancing possible here,” said G. Selva, CPI(M), Central Chennai District Secretary.

The residents want the government to allot the houses to them first, instead of converting them into a COVID-19 care centre. A case was also filed in the Madras High Court on this issue.

“We had filed a case to ensure that the tenements were used only for residential purposes and not for any other use. Senior advocate N.G.R. Prasad appeared for the allottees and the judges passed an interim order not to cancel allotments and also directed the government to file a counter pertaining to the hygiene issue in the locality,” said R. Thirumoorthy, a junior of Mr. Prasad’s.

At this juncture, when senior officials including Chennai Corporation special nodal officer J. Radhakrishnan along with Monitoring Officer A. Arun Thambu Raj inspected the tenements on Thursday, the residents became worried.

“A few government officials told us that they will be housing only asymptomatic patients. But we told them that the first preference should be to allot the houses to the original allottees who are living in pitiable conditions. They did not give us a proper reply,” added Mr. Selva.

Kamakshi (name changed), who lives in one of the tin sheds with her husband and two children, said that after a few people tested positive for COVID-19, no one came to the locality to test others. “We have lost our jobs now and our future is bleak. The government, instead of providing the houses to us, is trying to accommodate asymptomatic patients here. We have requested the officials and that’s the best we can do,” she said.

Mr. Selva said that the government should make use of the private hospitals, medical colleges and hotels in the city to accommodate and monitor asymptomatic cases. “Why do they want to grab resources from the poor, always,” he questioned.

A TNSCB official said that they had already handed over the tenements to the Greater Chennai Corporation. "Now it is for them to decide,” the official said.

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Printable version | Jul 12, 2020 4:16:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/residents-of-kp-park-tenements-ask-for-houses-to-be-allotted-to-them/article31694327.ece

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